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Lesley College 

30 hAeilGn Street 

Cambridge, UA 02138-2790 

For Reference 

Not to be taken from this room 

Digitized by the Internet Archive 

in 2010 with funding from 
Lesley University, Sherrill Library 


submitted by 


In partial fulfillment of the requirements 

for the degree of 

Doctor of Philosophy 


August 27, 




Presidents and CEOs play a critical role in leading their 
organizations through planned transformational change (PTC) and 
generally, do not do it very well. This may, in part, be a result of 
leaders not closely examining and challenging their thinking about 
PTC and their role in leading it. 

Leaders' mental models determine what and how they think 
about their organizations, employees, transformational change and 
what their leadership means and how their mental models 
determine their actions and behaviors in planning and implementing 
PTC. By examining and challenging their mental models, leaders may 
gain insights into alternative ways of leading and this reflection may 
result in action leading to greater effectiveness in their companies' 
ability to accomplish PTC. 

A methodology based on Chris Argyris' espoused theory and 
theory-in-use concepts can be used by external consultants to help 
leaders make their mental models explicit and open to their 
examination. This process allows leaders to challenge their mental 
models and to develop alternative actions and behaviors in effecting 

Research was conducted on four leaders of for-profit 
organizations. These companies varied in size, industry, and 
profitability. By conducting in-depth interviews with these leaders 
and their middle level managers, individual's mental models were 
analyzed and degrees of congruence between their espoused theories 
and their actual behaviors and actions were illuminated. It seems 
clear that mental models that stress a willingness to explore openly 
one's own thinking and behavior appears to result in leaders having 
greater choices of alternatives and selecting more appropriate 
strategies and actions in leading PTC. Little congruence seems to 
result in significantly reduced understanding leaders have about 
their actions and behaviors and leads to ineffective PTC. 



This dissertation is dedicated to the three powerful women in 
my life: my mother who taught me to love and, by example, to 
overcome adversity; my wife, Nelly, who unquestioningly supported 
my desire to return to school and pursue a Ph.D. while others were 
solidifying their careers, and who always believed in my eventual 
success, and Debora Sherman who rescued my studies and me from 
disorganization and dispair. 

And to the family of Sciurus carolinensis who live outside my 
study window. To this day, they have not given up trying to get 
seeds from my "squirrel-proof bird feeders. Their persistance and 
ingenuity I find inspiring. 


Author Note 

I want to thank my dissertation committee for their support, 
encouragement, and hard work in assisting me through this arduous 
labor. To Dr. Earl Potter, Dean of the School of Management, Lesley 
College, who provided guidance by challenging my research approach 
and insights into my "mental model;" to Dr. Larry Rossini, who spent 
many hours exchanging ideas with me, giving me insights into my 
studies, and telling me, "This is really good stuff;" and to Dr. Debora 
Sherman, professor and my dissertation committee chairperson, 
Lesley College, who guided my work, challenged my thinking, and 
encouraged my efforts. My appreciation for your professionalism 
and humanity can not be too strongly expressed. 

To the presidents and CEOs of the firms who participated in 
this study, 1 want to express my gratitude for taking time from your 
busy lives to support this research. 


Abstract ii 

Dedication iii 

Author Note iv 

Chapter One: The Question 1 

Chapter Two: Literature Review on the Theories of 

Organizational Change 6 

Introduction 6 

The Purpose of Theory 6 

Historical Significance/importance of Early 

Theorists 10 

What is Organizational Change? 15 

Kanter, Stein, and Jick 1 5 

Macro-evolutionary Change 19 

Micro-evolutionary Change 22 

Basic assumptions of Kanter et al's. model 24 

Van de Ven and Poole 24 

Types of Change Theory 26 

1 . Life-cycle theory 26 

2. Teleological Theory 27 

3. Dialectical Theory 27 

4. Evolutionary Theory 29 

Distinguishing Characteristics of Van de Ven and 

Poole's 30 

Process Theories 30 

The Cycles and Motor of Change 30 

The Unit of Change 31 

Mode of Change 3 1 

Assumptions 34 

Chin and Benne 36 

Empirical-Rational Strategies 36 

Normative-Reeducative Strategies 3 8 

Power-Coercive Strategies 40 

Assumptions 41 

Comparisons of the Work of Kanter et al., Van de 

Ven and Poole and Chin and Benne 41 

1. "What is the change process?" 42 

1. a Forces of Change 42 

1. b How change takes place 43 

2. "What is changed?" 45 

3. "What are other distinguishing 
characteristics that change research 
addresses?" 48 

Romanelli and Tushman 49 

Description of Punctuated Equilibrium 49 

Comparisons of Romanelli and Tushman's Work to the 

Work of Kanter et al., Van de Ven and Poole, and Chin 

and Benne 51 

1. "What is the change process?" 51 

2. "What is changed?" 52 

3. "What are other distinguishing 
characteristics that change research 
addresses?" 53 

Lichtenstein 54 

Description of the Three Stage Self-Organizing 

Model 54 

Comparisons to the Work of Kanter et al, Van de Ven and 
Poole, Chin and Benne, Romanelli and Tushman 56 

1. "What is the change process?" 56 

Biological Analogies 5 7 

Change mechanisms: stages and 

triggers 57 

2. "What is changed?" 60 

3. "What are other distinguishing 
characteristics that change research 
addresses?" 60 

Kurt Lewin 61 

Lewin's Three Phase Model of Change 61 

Schein's Elaboration of Lewin's Model 62 

Comparisons to the Work of Kanter et al., Van de Ven and 
Poole, Chin and Benne, Romanelli and Tushman, and 
Lichtenstein 63 

1. "What is the change process?" 63 

2. "What is changed?" 64 

3. "What are other distinguishing 
characteristics that change research 
addresses?" 64 

Richard Beckhard, Wendy Pritchard, Ruben T. Harris 65 

Fundamental Change in Complex Organizations 65 

Comparisons to the Work of Kanter et al., Van de Ven and 
Poole, Chin and Benne, Romanelli and Tushman, and 
Lichtenstein, and Lewin 69 

1. "What is the change process?" 69 

2. "What is changed?" 70 

3. "What are other distinguishing 
characteristics that change research 
addresses?" 70 

Summary 71 

1 ) Organizational change is a complex 

subject 71 

2) Is it possible to deliberately plan and 
implement organizational change? 72 

3) Theories provide a schemata of change that 

can be used for analysis 72 

4) Which theoretical approach to planned 
change should be used? 72 

5) Importance for change agents of 
understanding planned change 73 

References 73 

Chapter Three: Literature Review on the Theories of 

Leadership and Organizations 79 

Introduction 79 

Nature of Leadership 80 

Definition 80 

Major Issues 81 

Leadership Effectiveness 84 

Leadership Theories and Models 86 

Introduction 86 

( 1 ) Situational and Contingency Theories of 
Leadership 87 

(a) Path-Goal Theory 88 

(b) Leadership Substitutes Theory 89 

(c) Multiple Linkage Model 90 

(d) LPC Contingency Model 91 

( 2 ) Leadership Behavior 92 

(3) Leadership Traits and Skills 95 

(4) Power and Influence 98 

Charismatic Leadership 10 1 

Attribution Theory of Charisma 103 

Self-Concept Theory of Charismatic 

Leadership 104 

Charisma as Social Contagion 105 

Participative Leadership 105 

Vroom and Yetton Normative Decision Model 106 

Transformational Leadership 107 

References 112 

Chapter Four: Literature Review of Mental Models 123 

Introduction 123 

Description of Mental Models 123 

Development of the Concept of Mental Models 124 

The Role of Mental Models in Organizational 

Change 127 

References 134 

Chapter Five: Methodology 13 7 

Purpose 137 

Theoretical Basis for Conducting Qualitative 

Research 137 

Qualitative Research 137 

Phenomenological Approach 139 

Symbolic Interaction 139 

Portraiture 141 

Research Design 142 

Rationale for Use of Subject Codes 142 

The Nature of Organizations 145 

The Nature of People in Organizations 146 

The Nature of Planned Organizational Change 147 

Self Perception 148 

Data Gathering, Sampling, and Analysis 150 

Data. 152 

Coding 152 

Coding Accuracy 153 

Validity and Reliability Issues in Qualitative 

Research 154 

References 156 

Chapter Six: Research Findings 158 

Corporate Headquarters Case Mental Model of JOHN 159 

Introduction to the Enterprise 159 

John's Mental Model 161 

Nature of Organizations 162 

Nature of People in Organizations 163 

Understanding Resistance 163 

Understanding Organizatinal Dynamics 164 

Understanding the Need for Achievement 165 

Others View of John 165 

Understanding the Nature of Planned Organizational 

Change 166 

Understanding The Value Of Recognizing The 

Need For Change 166 

Understanding The Importance And Value Of 

Leadership And Management In 

Organizational Transformation 166 

Understanding Planned Organizational Change 

Concepts 167 

Understanding Organizational Culture 168 

Understanding One's Own Role 169 

Understanding the Need for Rewards and 

Recognition 170 

Perceives Successful Change 170 

Self Perception 171 

Seeing Oneself as Leader 171 

Philosophy of Living 172 

Self Awareness 172 

Corporate Headquarters Case Mental Model of JANE 173 

The Nature of Organizations 173 

Understanding Organizational Systems and 

Processes 173 

The Nature of People in Organizations 174 

Sensitivity to Others' Feelings and Emotions 174 

Understanding the Need for Rewards and 

Recognition 175 

Understanding Organizational Dynamics 175 

The Nature of Planned Organizational Change 176 

Understanding Leadership and Management 176 

Understanding the Need for Communications 179 

Understanding Resistance 180 

Need for Change 181 

Perception of Change 18 1 

Understand Need for Team work 182 

Self Perception 183 

Abihty to See From Others' Viewpoint 183 

Seeing Oneself as a Leader 184 

Self Awareness 185 

Ability to See From Another's Viewpoint 186 

View of the President 187 

Corporate Headquarters Case Comparison of Mental 

Models 189 

Introduction .189 

The Nature of Organizations 190 

The Nature of People in Organizations 190 

The Nature of Planned Organizational Change 192 

Self Perception 192 

References 194 

Chapter Six: Research Findings-Manufacturing Case 195 

Mental Model of ED 195 

Nature of Organizations 196 

Nature of People in Organizations 196 

Need for Achievement 196 

Reward and Recognition 197 

Understanding Organizational Dynamics 197 

Understanding People in Organizations 199 

Nature of Planned Organizational Change 202 

Perception of Change 202 

Understanding Leadership and Management 202 

Understanding Resistance 208 

Understanding the Need for Teamwork 209 

Self Perception 209 

Manfuacturing Case 210 

Mental Model of MIKE 210 

The Nature of Organizations 211 

The Nature of People in Organizations 211 

Need for Achievement 211 

Understanding People in Organizations 212 

View of Ed 216 

The Nature of Planned Organizational Change 217 

Perception of Change 2 1 7 

Understanding Innovation 2 1 8 

Understanding Leadership and Management 218 

Understanding Communication 220 

Understanding the Need for Team Work 220 

Understanding Ed's Role 221 

Self Perception 223 

Ability to See From Others Point of View 223 

Self Awareness 22 3 

Understands Own Role 225 

Manufacturing Case 228 

Mental Model of LARRY 228 

Nature of Organizations 228 

Nature of People in Organizations 229 

Understanding the Need for Rewards and 

Recognition 229 

Understanding What Makes People Tick 229 

Understanding People in Organizations 230 

Nature of Planned Organizational Change 232 

Perception of Change 232 

Understanding the Need for Team Work 233 

Understanding Leadership and Management 234 

Self Perception 238 

Self Awareness 238 

Philosophy of Living 240 

Manufacturing Case Comparison of Mental Models 240 

Introduction 241 

The Nature of Organizations 241 

The Nature of People in Organizations 241 

The Nature of Planned Organizational Change 242 

Self Perception 242 

Utility Case: Mental Model of ROB 244 

Introduction 244 

The Nature of Organizations 246 

The Nature of People in Organizations 247 

Risk Taking 247 

Understanding Organizational Dynamics 248 

The Nature of Planned Organizational Change 248 

Understanding Planned Organizational Change 

Concepts 248 

Understanding the Need for Change 2 5 2 

Understanding Leadership and Management 254 

Perception of Change 255 

Understanding Innovations 256 

Understand Need for Communication 257 

Understanding the Need for Team Work 259 

Understanding Organizational Culture 259 

Understanding Resistance 25 9 

Self Perception 260 

Understanding One's Own Role 260 

Seeing Oneself as Leader 261 

Understanding One's Own Role 262 

Self Awareness 263 

Utility Case: Mental Model of RALPH 266 

Introduction 266 

The Nature of Organizations 266 

Management Planning 266 

The Nature of People in Organizations 267 

Understanding People's Needs in 

Organizations 267 

Understanding Organizational Dynamics 267 

Ralph's View of Rob 269 

The Nature of Planned Organizational Change 272 

Understanding the Need for Change 272 

Understand Innovations 272 

Understanding the Need for Teamwork 272 

Understanding Planned Organizational 

Change 273 

Understanding the Need for Communication 274 

Self Perception 275 

Utility Case: Mental Model SAM 276 

Introduction 276 

Nature of Organizations 276 

Nature of People in Organizations 277 

Risk Taking 277 

Organizational Dynamics 278 

What Makes People Tick 280 

Sam's View of Rob 280 

Nature of Planned Organizational Change 282 

Understands Planned Organizational Change 282 

Understanding the Need for Communication 284 

Understands the Need for Teamwork 285 

Self Perception 286 

Self Awareness 286 

Utility Case: Comparison of Mental Models 288 

Introduction 288 

Nature of Organizations 288 

The Nature of People in Organizations 288 

The Nature of Planned Organizational Change 289 

Self Perception 289 

References 291 

Marketing Case: Mental Model of MARY 292 

The Nature of Organizations 294 

Management Planning 294 

The Nature of People in Organizations 295 

Understanding the Need for Rewards and 

Recognition 295 

Organizational Dynamics 295 

Understanding People in Organizations 296 

The Nature of Planned Organizational Change 297 

Understanding Resistance 297 

Understanding Leadership and Management 298 

Understanding Innovation 300 

Understanding the Need for Communication 301 

Understanding the Need for Team Work 301 

Use Perception to Create Success 301 

Self Perception 302 

Self Awareness 302 

Understanding One's Own Role 303 

Seeing Oneself as a Leader 303 

Philosophy of Life 306 

Creating Reality 306 

Marketing Case: Mental model of LINDA 308 

Nature of Organizations 308 

Nature of People in Organizations 308 

Understanding Need for Achievement 308 

Understanding People in Organizations 309 

View of Mary 310 

Nature of Planned Organizational Change 3 1 1 

Perception of Change 3 1 1 

Understanding Innovation 3 1 3 

Understanding Management and Leadership 314 

Understanding the Need for Communication 314 

Understanding Reward and Recognition 315 

Understanding the Need for Team Work 316 

Understanding Organizational Culture 316 

Self Perception 318 

Self Awareness 3 1 8 

Understanding Own Role 319 

Seeing Oneself as Leader 319 

Marketing Case: Mental Model comparison 321 

The Nature of Organizations 321 

The Nature of People in Organizations 321 

The Nature of Planned Organizational Change 322 

Self Perception 322 

Chapter Seven: Analysis and Interpretation 324 

Introduction 324 

Recapitulation 324 

Transformational Change 329 

Identifying Transformational Change 329 

Mechanisms of Transformational Change 333 

Maintaining Transformational Change 335 

Leadership in Transformational Change 337 

Situational or Contingency Theories 338 

Leader Behavior Theories 339 

Power and Influence 341 

Charismatic Leadership 342 

Transformational Leadership 344 

Mental Models 347 

Common and Dissimilar Elements of Four Leaders' 

Mental Models 348 

The Nature of Organizations: 348 

The Nature of People in Organizations: 349 

The Nature of Planned Organizational 

Change: 350 

Self-perception: 350 

Summary 351 

Consultants Uses for Theories of Action 352 

Implications for Consultants 353 

A Final Thought 3 5 7 

References 359 

Appendix 1: Interview Introduction Letter 364 

Introduction and Purpose of My Visit 364 

Protection of Confidentially 365 

Conducting the Interviews 365 

Appendix 11: Interview Introduction and Questions 366 

Appendix III: Codes by Categories 369 

The Nature of Organizations: 369 

The Nature of People in Organizations: 369 

The Nature of Organizational Change: 369 

Self Perception: 370 

Appendix IV: Mental Model Test 371 


In my years of management experience in primarily high 
technology corporations, 1 have witnessed many corporate attempts 
at transformational change, yet little seemed to actually change from 
these attempts. Organizational leaders announced fundamental 
changes would be made in how business was conducted; executives 
were reassigned to head these efforts; new visions, missions, and 
goals were promulgated, and reams of paper were distributed telling 
company employees all about the "big changes" that would turn their 
company around. Organizations were restructured. Often employees 
were laid off. Jobs were changed. Stress was high in people and 
often resulted in physical, as well as emotional illness. The talented 
employees whose skills were in high demand often left to take jobs 
in more stable organizations. As people left, those remaining behind 
had to take up the increased workload. Stress increased and 
productivity continued to decline. In the end, the corporation 
continued its downhill slide, and the executives responsible 
wondered why their "well planned" changes did not work. 

In the United States, education of executives, I believe, is 
woefully lacking. In one critical area, that of planned 
transformational change, executives do not learn how to lead it, nor 
do they have the opportunity to learn how to accomplish it 
successfully. Since the impact of failed transformational change is so 
serious to our society, the importance of educating this population 
has never been greater. My hope is that this study will contribute to 
this educational effort. 

The question this dissertation explores is: What are the 
mental models of leaders and middle level managers in 
organizations undergoing planned transformational change 
and how do their mental models affect their perceptions in 
assessing the changes in terms of the problems they were 
designed to address? 

This dissertation will explore: 

• the mental models of two groups of organizational players: 
leaders and middle level managers, 

• the relationships and roles of the mental models of the two 
groups of players, 

• the similarities and differences, if any, of the relationships 
between the mental models of the two groups, 

• the extent of congruence of the mental models of the two 
groups and how it influences their perceptions of the change 

• the cognitive content of leaders' thinking about the nature of 
organizations, the nature of people in organizations, the 
nature of organizational change, and percpetions of 

This investigation includes an examination of: 

• the mental models of leaders and middle level managers in 
planned transformational change situations, 

• the aspects or components of their mental models about 
planned transformational change. 

• their perceptions of the impact of their mental models on 
their planned transformational change efforts, 

Mental models are the central focus of this study because of 
my assumption that such mental models have a direct impact on an 
individual's ability to make sense of the world around him/her and 
on the actions that result from this comprehension. Because leaders 
occupy the critical position in organizations, they are essential to the 
research. They have positional, as well as political, psychological, and 
spiritual power and influence, to lead the change effort. 

The concept of mental models is important to understand 
because they affect what we see and believe. "Two people with 
different mental models can observe the same event and describe it 
differently, because they've looked at different details. We observe 
selectively" (Senge, 1993 p. 175). Actually, we perceive selectively. 
We choose, often unconsciously, what we are willing to see. Since we 
perceive selectively, our perceptions tend to reinforce what we 
already believe to be true; they are our mental models. Our mental 
models, too, are often unconsciously held and we assume they are 
accurate. Therefore, " insights fail to get put into practice 
because they conflict with deeply held internal images of how the 
world works, images that limit us to familiar ways of thinking and 
acting" (Senge, 1993 p. 174). In other words, mental models often 
block learning unless they are recognized and challenged. We 
develop defensive routines that insulate and protect us from 
disconfirming data. Argyris uses the oxymoron "skilled 
incompetence" to refer to people becoming "...highly skillful at 
protecting themselves from pain and threat posed by learning 

situations." (Argyris, Putnam & Smith, 1985a) The result is the 
inability to learn, grow, and change. 

What organizational members think regarding the 
organization, its people, and its change, is the result, to a great extent, 
of their mental models. From mental models, which inform 
knowledge and understanding, come action and behavior. This 
means that mental models influence operations of organizations 
through their impact on the actions and behaviors of organizational 
members. Therefore, this dissertation explores research subjects' 
thinking on: 

• The nature of organizations and how they perceive the 
relevance and importance of power, group dynamics, 
systems, structure, and people; 

• The nature of people in organizations and how they perceive 
the relevance and importance of what people want, what 
motivates them, how they react to different organizational 
situations and events; 

• The nature of organizational change and how they perceive 
the relevance and importance of how and why people react 
to change, what causes resistance to it and what reduces it, 
and what motivates people to support it; 

• The individual's perception of himself or herself including 
his/her understanding about him/herself; their own 
behaviors, motives, goals, and desires, within the context of 
the organization. 

Knowledge is constructed. "Knowing something represents an 
act of constructing or of creating a meaning..." and "... every 'truth' 

represents a construction of meaning: rather than a mere perception 
of reality as it is." (Campbell, 1994 p. 10) . In other words, our 
understanding of organizational change is perceptually and 
contextually based; that is, it applies only to the individual's reaction 
to a specific situation and circumstances that are being experienced. 
Therefore, it is important for us, as researchers, to understand the 
specific situations and mental models with which leaders and middle 
level managers are involved. 

Examining people's mental models and the thinking and actions 
associated with them will give us the ability to view their world 
through multiple lenses, thereby providing us with a more complete 
understanding of what may be going on. 1 believe, that it is through 
reflection and examination from multiple perspectives that we are 
able to learn to understand organizational existence, how it functions, 
and what our roles are in making transformational change work. 

My own perspective in conducting this research is from that of 
an outside consultant whose mission is to aid organizations in making 
transformational change. 



This chapter reviews the literature on the theories of 

organizational change by first describing, then comparing and 

contrasting the three major change theories (of Kanter et al., Van de 

Ven and Poole, and Chin and Benne) which provide the basis of the 

literature. Additional theoretical research work in this area of 

Romanelli and Tushman, Benyamin Lichtenstein, Kurt Lewin, and 

finally, Richard Beckhard will also be reviewed. 


In order to accomplish the goal of the next two chapters, which 
is to review the literature on theories of organizational change, it is 
first necessary to be able to distinguish between what is a theory 
and what is not a theory, 

Kurt Lewin, the social psychologist, stated that there is nothing 
as useful as a good theory (Weisbord, 1987). What Lewin meant by 
this, in part, was that theory-making accomplishes several critical 
functions in aiding our efforts to gain understanding about the 
nature of our world. A theory systematically organizes 
knowledge and information including principles, concepts, 
hypotheses, processes, and systems into a meaningful structure that 
helps us better understand phenomena. A theory attempts to 
explain causal relationships trying to find reasons why certain 
occurrences happen while other occurrences don't happen. It 
includes logical and convincing arguments. A theory is broad 

in scope, in that it generalizes to other situations that have 
similar circumstances. It should possess predictive capabilities. 
A theory is an answer to the query of why: things happen (Kaplan, 
1964; Merton, 1967). According to Weick, good theory is succinct, 
explains, predicts, and delights (Weick, 1979). 

We can now see how a good theory is able to help us study 
organizational change. It helps us to understand the nature of 
organizational change by attempting to answer the questions of why 
organizations change and how this phenomenon happens. Theory 
enables us to compare and contrast different aspects of 
organizational change. It allows us to predict that if certain 
conditions exist in an organization, we can expect certain events to be 
the result. We can look at organizations in various situations and 
circumstances and make generalizations about why and how 
organizational change occurs. 

Lewin, in stating that "nothing is as useful as a good theory", 
also meant that a good theory provides us with the opportunity to 
test our assumptions. It is through testing these assumptions that 
we expand our understanding of the world around us and also decide 
whether the theory has validity for us. Its design enables us to test 
its assumptions and determine for ourselves whether or not the 
theory useful. 

Although Sutton (1987) says, there is a lack of agreement in 
our ability to distinguish between a theory and a model, it is 
important to attempt to distinguish between them because they 
serve different functions. In contrast to a theory, a model is "A 
schematic description of a system, theory, or phenomenon that 

• 8 

accounts for its known or inferred properties..." (American Heritage, 
1997). Models help us to study the characteristics of a phenomenon, 
but they don't provide an explanation of how the phenomenon works 
or why it happens. Theory, on the other hand, answers these 
questions from a socially shared perspective. As we progress in 
examining organizational change theories in this paper, it therefore 
will be important to distinguish between theories and models, since 
only studying theories will accomplish our purpose. 

Although our discussion has indicated the value of theory, 
several points need to be explored that put this value into 
perspective. The phrase "socially shared perspective" used above 
suggests that caution needs to be used in relying on theory to explain 
phenomena. As Gergen points out, "...accounts of 'the way the world 
is' don't grow from nature but from the application of a socially 
shared perspective" (Gergen, 1991 p. 94). While modernist 
philosophers of science attempt to establish a relational foundation 
for knowledge and the belief that factual knowledge exists "out 
there" independently of the scholar, postmodernists question the 
whole notion that objectivity can exist at all. 

Before a scientific discovery can be claimed as a "fact", other 
scientists must examine the research and be able to repeat it. 
"Objectivity, then, is achieved through a coalition of subjectivities" 
(Gergen, 1991 p. 84) and as Hanson believes, we come to any 
particular event or situation with certain practiced ways of 
perceiving it (Hanson, 1958). This means that theory, to be accepted, 
must first gain approval from others who themselves come to the 
situation with their own preconceived notions and ways of 

perceiving reality. "The truth" depends upon the context in which it 
is perceived. What the scientific community perceives as "truth" 
depends upon " factors such as power, social negotiation, and 
prestige" (Gergen, 1991 p. 94). " is not the 'real world' that 
determines scientific description and explanation, but rather social 
processes within science and society" (Gergen, 1991 p. 93). 

The importance of this discussion, I believe, is that while 
theory-making is exceedingly important in helping us understand 
the complexities of our world, we must, at the same time, remain 
aware of the limitations of theories. In the study of business 
organizations, a number of "theories" have purported to have "the 
answer" to business problems. Those who make statements of 
"truth" cannot make those statements objectively. Therefore, 
it is important to question the context in which the author makes 
these statements. This information aids in evaluating the worth the 
author's work has for us. At the same time, we need to recognize 
that theories are still the best way we have of sharing ideas within 
our context. Without theories, we have no basis for taking actions. 
Actions we do take maybe haphazard and without a real sense of 
what their results may be. That is why "business solutions" that are 
not based on theory may not only be worthless, but may be 
dangerous. Despite these limitations, I will consider a theory to be 
"systematically organized knowledge applicable in a relatively wide 
variety of circumstances, especially a system of assumptions, 
accepted principles, and rules of procedure devised to analyze, 
predict, or otherwise explain the nature or behavior of a specified set 
of phenomena" (American Heritage, 1997). Theoretical orientations 

• 10 

and perspectives help researchers develop a foundation to engage in 
research in a systematic, rational methodology. Theories are 
essential for this dissertation in analyzing from multiple perspectives 
data elicited from leaders and their middle level managers. 

Historical Significance/importance of Early Theorists 

It is important to examine the works of early theorists in order 
to understand their influences on current thought on organizational 
change. Four of these influential early theorists are Kurt Lewin, 
Richard Beckhard, and Robert Chin and Kenneth Benne. 

It would be difficult to determine precisely what contributions 
each of these early theorists had upon individual organizational 
change researchers. However, that exercise is not as important as 
understanding what were these early theorists' contributions to 
subsequent thinking in the field of planned change. All of the above 
researchers approached the study and implementation of planned 
change from similar perspectives. They all were concerned with the 
need for understanding "..practical theory and the social dynamics of 
utilizing knowledge in effecting change..." (French et al, 1994 p. 
111). Beckhard and Benne actually worked with Lewin. Beckhard 
had joined MIT's Research Center for Group Dynamics which was led 
by Lewin and Benne worked with Lewin on the design of the 
"Connecticut workshop" on race relations. Later, along with Lewin, 
Benne founded the National Training Labs at Bethel, Maine. 

Lewin was first to lay out the concepts involved with 
understanding and implementing planned change before Beckhard 
and Chin and Benne wrote about them. This is not to say that they 

• 11 

merely copied Lewin's work. Each of these theorists took Lewin's 
work further and in different directions. Beckhard focused on the 
work of taking theory and applying it to the practical work of 
implementing planned change. Chin and Benne focused on 
behavioral aspects as well as developing concepts on planned change 

Perhaps the most influential theorist was Kurt Lewin (1891 - 
1947), Lewin, a social psychologist, was one of the earliest 
researchers and theorists on organizational change (see qualifying 
paper #1 for detailed information about Lewin). "Nearly every 
sincere effort to improve organizations from within can be traced 
back to him [Lewin], often through a thicket of tangled, hidden 
influences. His work spread from mentor to student, from consultant 
to manager to colleague..." (Kleiner, 1996 p. 30). Lewin saw as 
fundamental the building of a relationship between the abstract and 
the concrete, that is, between theory and practice. "The research 
worker can achieve this [relationship building] only if, as a result of a 
constant intense tension, he can keep both theory and reality fully 
within his field of vision." (Benne & Chin, 1976b p. 4). From this 
concern, comes Lewin's concentration on action research and 
continuous learning by doing, as a fundamental component of 

Lewin made many major contributions that influenced others' 
subsequent work on organizational change including action research, 
three-step model of organizational change, and the determining role 
of culture in implementing change. The basis of Lewin's thinking 
was the belief that people inherently have valuable contributions to 

• 12 

make to their organizations. Also attributed to Lewin are 
implementation models of planned change such as those of Lippitt, 
Watson, and Westely (Burke, 1992), Edgar Schein (Schein, 1988), and 
Ralph Kilmann (French et al, 1994). Lewin posited the importance 
of conducting empirical studies of organizations. He developed the 
process of "action research" which involved both solving problems 
and creating useful knowledge about the process of change based 
upon accumulated research. By using this process, other researchers 
were able to contribute, in a systematic way, to the body of 
knowledge on organizational change. Lewin's three-step change 
model was the first to define change as a process involving forces, 
either in or out of balance, that determined an organization's actions. 
In addition, Lewin understood the profound importance of the 
organization's culture in accomplishing change. This work influenced 
the later work of others including Edgar Schein. 

Richard Beckhard's (1918- ) career overlapped Lewin's and 
was influenced by him. However, Beckhard himself, strongly 
influenced, in the early 1960s the new branch of organizational 
change referred to as organizational development. Beckhard saw 
that the greatest challenge to organizations was to grow and develop 
in positive ways. Therefore, he focused on the implementation of 
planned organizational change which he referred to as organizational 
development. Beckhard meant by implementation, that 
organizational development and growth needed to be planned, 
managed from the top, and aimed at increasing "...organizational 
effectiveness and health" (Beckhard, 1969 p. 9). This type of change 
consisted of planned interventions in the organization's processes 

• 13 

and was based upon behavioral science knowledge. Beckhard saw 
the need to change whole organizations. Although Beckhard believed 
that change had to be led from the top of the organization with a 
"vision-driven strategy" he, like Lewin, knew that the only effective 
way was to concentrate on groups or teams, not individuals, as the 
focus of managing change. This approach is more effective because 
group norms strongly affect individual actions. To gain critical 
support for change from stakeholders, it was necessary to focus on 
both current business results as well as accomplishing strategic 
organizational improvements (Beckhard & Pritchard, 1992 p. 25). 
Again, like Lewin, Beckhard saw the fundamental need for creating a 
workplace where workers could achieve through developing their 
full potential. Another Lewin concept, learning by doing as part of 
action research, was strongly endorsed by Beckhard. 

Robert Chin (1918-) and Kenneth Benne (1908-1992) 
developed a three-way classification of change strategies. Chin and 
Benne were committed to a normative-re-educative family of 
strategies as the most "appropriate to the conditions of contemporary 
life and to the advancement of scientific and democratic values in 
human society." They did not reject the other two families of 
strategies, i.e. rational-empirical and power-coercive. "It is probably 
safe to predict that all three kinds of strategies will continue to be 
used in action programs [implementation plans]" (Benne & Chin, 
1976a p. 13). In addition, utilizing their three-way classification. 
Chin and Benne traced the evolution of thought and knowledge about 
planned change. This enables us to view the flow of ideas over time 
and to point out alternative approaches to planned change. 

• 14 

Chin and Benne's ideas are similar to Lewin's in that the 
former's explains change from the perspective of human needs and 
behaviors. Lewin posited that organizations needed to be strongly 
motivated to "unfreeze" or begin the change. For example, Lewin 
stated that to "unfreeze" the organization employees must perceive a 
need for change. Chin and Benne's posit similarly that employees 
would logically see the need for change in "rational-empirical" 
strategy, be coerced into accepting change in "power-coercive" 
strategy, or individuals will change when "...their normative 
orientations to old patterns [are given up] and develop commitments 
to new ones" (French et al., 1994 p. 112). In other words, change 
occurs, when people change both their values, attitudes, and 
relationships in addition to changing their information, knowledge, 
and rational constructs. 

Lewin stated that it is the behavior of organizational members 
that is changed. However, Lewin did not indicate the depth of the 
behavior change required as being at the deep level of attitudes, 
beliefs, and norms as do Chin and Benne. 

As indicated earlier, Lewin had a profound impact upon later 
theorists. Through his associations from his work at NTL and MIT, 
Lewin was able to connect with and influence dozens of researchers. 
Those he influenced themselves, in turn, influenced many others in 
further developing organizational change theory and implementation 

The following sections examine the literature on theories of 
organizational change by seven groups and individual researchers. 

• 15 

What is Organizational Change? 

In this section, three broad theories defining organizational 
change, or in the case of Van de Ven metatheories, are described. In 
the following section, these three theories are compared and 
contrasted. Later in this paper, additional theories will be described 
and compared to our main three theories. 


Rosebeth Kanter Moss is a professor in the Harvard Business 
School. Barry Stein is a management consultant in his own consulting 
firm. He specializes in helping companies in the United States and 
Europe to deal effectively with change. Kanter and Stein together 
have presented workshops internationally on issues related to 
organizational change. Todd Jick is a professor at the Harvard 
Business School. His specialty is the management of change. 

Organizational change is conventionally thought of as involving 
a movement from "some discrete and rather fbced state" to another 
in certain time frames so that movement proceeds from one state at 
a certain time to another state and time (Kanter, Stein & Jick, 1992 p. 
9). However, according to Kanter et al., organizations are fluid and 
dynamic. They are always in motion. Organizational components are 
moving in many directions at once. Change is considered deliberate 
when some aspect of the motion is steered in a specific direction. 

According to Kanter et al., change involves two different 
phenomena. The first, is that to some degree change is in the eye of 
the beholder. Kuhn's "Paradigm" theory states that a number of 

• 16 

small changes eventually accumulate to a sudden realization or 
perception of being a qualitative shift (Kuhn, 1962), " in entering 
an entirely new state , with phenomena subsequently reinterpreted 
in terms of this new paradigm" (Kanter et al., 1992 p. 10). In other 
words, the shift to a new paradigm is a matter of perception on the 
part of the individual or group who is perceiving the phenomenon. 
Small changes, or "small-c" build up one upon the other until there is 
the perception that a qualitative shift, or "big-C" has taken place. 
Since change involves, at least to some extent, perception, the claim 
of change having occurred may be the result of certain motivations, 
stated or unstated, on the part of those making the declaration. 
Therefore, "we should always ask who has a stake in declaring 
something to be 'new and different'" (Kanter et al., 1992 p. 10). 

The second, is that organizational change is not completely a 
matter of perception. There is an empirical aspect to it. This aspect 
refers to the presence of "...a set of characteristics associated with 
enduring patterns of behavior both of the organization as an entity 
and of people involved in it" (Kanter, 1983 p. 10). Without patterns 
of behavior the "fundamental value of any organization" would be 
destroyed since it is these repeatable behaviors over time that give 
the organization consistency and predictability (Kanter, 1983 p. 11). 
In addition, these patterns of behavior over time constitute an 
important feature of organizations that Kanter et al. refer to as 
"character." "Character" is "...rooted in the organization's structure, 
systems and culture" (Kanter, 1983 p. 11). 

Further, organizations have the power to shape the behaviors 
of its members by encouraging certain kinds of behavior while 

• 17 

discouraging others. Shaping of behavior is accomplished through 
the organization's ability to make certain activities difficult and 
others easy. This is accomplished through formal systems of the 
organization including roles and responsibilities, rules and 
regulations, process and procedures, access to information, and 
rewards and recognition. 

Since "character" refers to the organization's basic elements, it's 
understandable that fundamental and enduring change only occurs 
when there is change to its "character." "Transformation-capital-C 
'Change'-requires a modification in patterned behavior..." and "An 
understanding of organizational character and its sources, and of how 
to modify it, is required for effecting deliberate change" (Kanter et 
al., 1992 p. 11). Therefore, we can see the importance of focusing on 
organizational behavior and not on isolated or idiosyncratic events or 

To this point, we have been discussing one way of viewing 
organizations by their dynamic interactions. It is these interactions 
that we want to control in order to be able to deliberately change 

According to Kanter et al. organizations are made up of bundles 
of activity. "Organizations, as we see them, are bundles of activity 
with common elements that allow activities and people to be grouped 
and treated as an entity" (Kanter, 1983 p. 12). As activities change 
and as people move into and out of activity clusters, the organization 
shifts. Organizations, therefore, maybe said to be in motion. The 
organization's motion has a central tendency in its direction that 
results from a trajectory of past events, pushes arising from the 

• 18 

environment, and pulls arising from the strategies and goals 
constructed by those in power (Kanter, 1983 p. 12). At the same 
time activity clusters are in motion and their motion may or may not 
be aligned with each other or the organization's. This view of 
organizations recognizes that influences upon it come from many 
different sources and directions. It is not just top down through the 
chain of command. "Thus, organizational activity in the new model 
needs to be viewed in terms of clusters of activity sets whose 
membership, composition, ownership and goals are constantly 
changing, and in which projects rather than positions are central," 
according to Kanter et al. (p.l3). 

The individuals in these activity clusters interact with each 
other in a variety of ways. Some of their relationships are 
traditionally hierarchical; others are determined by certain skills and 
experience that the individuals bring to the activity, such as the 
ability for program management, the ability to obtain resources, and 
the ability to secure commitment from those in power. Activity sets 
are often not institutionalized, but instead their functioning is 
dependent upon the people who make them up. Activity sets such as 
project teams come together, function, and then disband dependent 
upon the energy and motivation of their participants, "...this more 
fluid view of organizations suggests that perhaps network theory or 
social movement theory is more relevant to the emerging economic 
world than is bureaucratic theory" (Kanter et al., 1992 p. 13). 

Therefore, Kanter et al. see an organization as "... a coalition of 
interests and a network of activities within a momentum-bearing 
structure..." (Kanter et al., 1992 p. 13). Implications of this view are 

• 19 

that, organizations are constantly changing whether or not it is 
deliberately led change. Also, managers need to be aware of the 
array of networks that permeate and surround the organization and 
the source and effect of the organization's momentum in order to 
control change. 

The concept of stability takes on a different meaning when we 
view organizations from this perspective. Stability is not seen as 
resistance to change but rather as motion that is smooth without 
discernible problems. 

In putting together their model of change, Kanter et al. discuss 
the interconnections among three major factors. These factors are 
the forces both internal and external that initiate motion, the main 
types of change that correspond to internal and external forces, and 
the primary tasks for mangers in managing change. Their last 
section on managers' tasks in accomplishing change is part of the 
implementation process and is not covered in this paper. 

Kanter et al. posit that there are three clusters of forces for 
emergent change to occur. According to Kanter et al. these forces 
create motion that triggers change. These are environmental 
forces, organic or life-cycle forces, and political forces. 
These forces impact and relate respectively to macro-evolutionary 
change, micro-evolutionary change, and revolutionary change. 

Macro-evolutionary Change 

Macro-evolutionary change is subject to environmental 
forces for change which are the relationships between 
organizations and their environments. These relationships deal with 

• 20 

organizations in similar industries competing for resources, markets, 
and customers. This environment is dynamic as new companies 
arrive on the scene and others are eliminated. The struggle is 
ongoing as the more successful companies fight for domination of 
their market attempting to gain advantages over their competitors. 

Kanter et al. posit that these environmental forces "shape the 
pressures and possibilities for change" (Kanter et al., 1992 p. 27). 
The three theories associated with environmental forces of change 
are natural selection, institutional theory, and resource 

Natural selection theory proposes that certain organizations 
survive while others do not because of the formers' ability to acquire 
resources and successfully occupy their niche. Population ecology is 
an example of natural selection theory (biological evolution) applied 
to sociology. Kanter et al., explain that in population ecology, change 
occurs through the process of random mutation, environmental 
selection of forms most fit for survival, and retention of successful 
patterns. Natural selection operates at the level of whole 
populations, such as competing industries. As whole industries 
change, individual organizations are altered in similar ways. A major 
drawback according to Kanter et al., is that population ecology does 
not take into account changes in the environment and those effects 
on organizations. 

Resource dependency studies the environmental constraints 
caused by organizational interdependence as organizations attempt 
to secure the resources they need for survival. Organizations 

• 21 

negotiate for resources available in the environment in attempts to 
gain power and sustain their viability (Powell & DiMaggio, 1991). 

According to Kanter et al, natural selection also encompasses 
other assumptions about survival including survival by luck, 
which assumes that success is achieved through experimentation and 
chance; survival by similarity or "isomorphism", which assumes 
survival is achieved by imitation of the most efficient and effective 
organizations in bargaining for limited resources; and survival of 
the savvy, which assumes that success is achieved by organizations 
through proactive and innovative actions in effectively dealing with 
environmental pressures and constraints. Another, more recent 
theory, institutional theory, according to Kanter et al., challenges the 
above assumptions by stating that organizations survive by 
effectively dealing with social and political forces surrounding them. 
This theory further states that, "...organizations must fit social 
expectations and values" (Kanter et al., 1992 p. 29). Without 
considering these forces, according to this theory, even well run, 
efficient organizations will fail. As Kanter et al. state about 
institutional theory, organizations are subject to the vagaries of 
current fads when they adopt new structures and patterns 
regardless of efficiencies if they are generally considered the "right 
thing" to do. 

According to Kanter et al, the above assumptions involving 
natural selection, primarily apply to smaller and less powerful 
organizations. Kanter et al. explore the advantages and drawbacks to 
large diversified companies that are able to dominate their 
environment instead of being subject to it. Kanter et al. believe that 


diversification is mostly detrimental to organization's continued 
success due to their need to function in multiple environments which 
tend to exacerbate forces for change. 

Micro-evolutionary Cinange 

Micro-evolutionary change, according to Kanter et al., is 
subject to organic or life-cycle forces for change. This refers 
to pressures on organizations from life-cycles due to forces of age, 
size, level or extent of complexity, or growth rate. For example, 
start-up businesses face a plethora of forces including securing 
sufficient resources, gaining brand recognition, retaining experienced 
management, licensing, and government regulations. These 
challenges push startups to change regardless of their strategic 

Growth, particularly rapid growth due to early success, 
presents business with additional forces for change. Rapid growth 
tends to create a climate of infallibility, the feeling that the company 
can do no wrong. This blinds top management to forces that may 
well destroy their companies. Other pressures that force change 
include the need to increase volume to achieve low-price strategy. 
This can result in cycles of reduced quality, efforts to fix quality, 
reduced profit, and greater need for volume. In addition, rapid 
growth requires large amounts of capital to maintain product 
delivery, retain customers, etc. 

Life-cycle issues continue as the organization matures. The 
forces for change in mature organizations differ from those of 
organizations early in the life-cycle. These forces tend to restrict 

• 23 

change, whereas eariier in the Ufe-cycle they tended to increase 

change. As organizations mature their growth necessitates greater 

coordination which requires more administrative functions that add 

to overhead costs. In addition, groups within the organization often 

seek to maintain their power and influence. They, therefore, have a 

vested interest in maintaining the status quo. Other forces constrain 

top management's freedom to institute change. These include 

various stakeholders such as stockholders, the investment industry, 

and investors such as venture capitalists. Also, the enterprise's 

success tends to make the organization believe in its unique abilities 

for achievement. This leads to a lack of self-questioning and the 

belief in inevitable success. 

A third force for emergent change is politics. According to 

Kanter et al., politics refers to: 

...networks of restricted access where limited exchange 
opportunities and power imbalances are common; tools for 
multiple stakeholders, where interest groups bargain and 
clash; or setting where informal, parochial, and divisive 
behavior stimulates organizational change (Kanter et al., 
1992 p. 47). 

The operation of politics in organizations is a dynamic process. As a 

result, it is a force for change as individuals and groups jockey for 

position and power. Politics can also restrain change, as well as 

apply pressure for change. Top management, because of its formal 

and informal agreements with individuals or groups, can find itself 

forced to perpetuate strategic directions that do not help the 

company to succeed. The need to satisfy internal and external 

constituent agreements can freeze leadership and prevent forces for 

• 24 

change. Politics can benefit organizations if it permits greater voice 
from opposing ideas and tliereby encourages constructive conflict. In 
this case, people battle over ideas and innovation rather than power 
and personal gain. 

Basic assumptions of Kanter et al's. model 

• Change, at least in part, is a matter of perception. People perceive 
change differently, what it is or if it has happened at all. 

• Change is also, at least partly, empirical. Change occurs when 
there are changes to the organization's basic elements of structure, 
system, and culture. Change can be measured. 

• Transformation requires modification in behavior patterns. 
Without this, change is "small-c." 

• Organizations get the behavior they ask for (shape members' 

• Organizations are always in motion. This motion has direction and 
is found at all levels. 

• Organizations are made up of activity clusters that are dynamic in 
nature since they constantly change their membership and goals. 

• Managers need to be aware of the array of networks that 
permeate and surround the organization and the source and effect 
of the organization's momentum in order to control change. 

Andrew H. Van de Ven is a professor of organizational change 
and innovation and Director of the Minnesota Innovation Research 
Program in the Strategic Management Research Center of the 

♦ 25 

University of Minnesota. Marshall Poole is a professor of speech 
communication at the University of Wisconsin at Madison with 
research interests including organizational innovation and change 
and organization theory. 

Van de Ven and Poole state that change can be viewed using a 
complex grid of components (Van de Ven, 1988). These components 
include types of change, perspectives on the mechanisms which 
cause change, and the levels of organization which are affected by 
change. In contrast to Kanter's et al. theoretical view of 
organizational change which incorporates types of change, 
perceptions of change, and causes of change, Van de Ven and Poole, 
have posited a metatheory to analyze other theories of change. Van 
de Ven and Poole in so doing, actually provide a theory that can itself 
be used to explain change events. 

Before examining Van de Ven and Poole's work, some terms 
used by the authors first need to be defined. Van de Ven and Poole 
define change as " empirical observation of difference in form, 
quality, or state over time in an organizational entity" (Van de Ven, 
1988 p. 512) . An entity may refer to an individual; to a work 
group; to a program, product or strategy; or to an organization. 
Change process is a sequence of change events that unfold along a 
time frame. Process theory is "an explanation of how and why an 
organizational entity changes and develops. This explanation should 
identify the generative mechanisms [or motors] that cause observed 
events to happen and the particular circumstances or contingencies 
behind these causal mechanisms" (Van de Ven & Poole, 1988 p. 

• 26 

Types of Change Theory 

Van de Ven and Poole describe four types of change theory. 

1. Life-cycle theory 

This theory refers to change as existing within and being 
predetermined in an entity. This means that the developing 
organization has within itself the code, pattern, or logic of its 
eventual end-state (Van de Ven & Poole, 1988). This code regulates 
the process of change. "Thus, the form that lies latent, premature, or 
homogeneous in the embryo or primitive state becomes 
progressively more realized, mature, and differentiated" (Van de Ven 
& Poole, 1995). The external environment can influence how the 
entity expresses itself, but the entity's code also influences the 
developmental outcome. Life-cycle development is sequential in 
nature with each stage of development following from the previous 
one. Development is cumulative in that characteristics obtained in 
one stage are retained into subsequent stages. The development 
sequence is conjunctive with "stages being related such that they 
derive from a common underlying process" and "each stage of 
development is seen as a necessary precursor of succeeding stages" 
(Van de Ven & Poole, 1995 p. 515). 

Development in organizational entities, according to life-cycle 
theories, follow a progression of activities in a specific "prescribed 
sequence" (Van de Ven & Poole, 1995 p. 515). Van de Ven and 
Poole give as an example the Food and Drug Administration's process 
for the development and commercialization of new drug products. 
Another example from other life-cycle theories is that of Roger's five 
stages of innovation (Rogers, 1983). The five stages are: recognition, 

• 27 

research on problem, development of idea into useful form, 
commercialization, and diffusion and adoption have an order that 
"...possess logic and a natural order of Western business practices" 
(Van de Ven & Poole, 1995 p. 515). In other words, Ufe-cycle 
theories maintain that entities must follow a prescribed orderly set 
of activities as their development progresses. 

2. Teleological Theory 

Teleology is a doctrine of philosophy that states that there is a 
purpose or goal that guides changes of an entity. Organizations 
progress through a cycle of development that is goal oriented. The 
organization is purposeful and adaptive. There is no predetermined 
manner in which the organization reaches its final goal. 
Development, according to this theory, consists of a "...sequence of 
goal formulation, implementation, evaluation, and modification of 
goals based on what was learned or intended by the entity" 
(VandeVen & Poole, 1995). In other words, the organization 
envisions an end state, takes action to attain it, monitors its 
advancement, and revises its progress as necessary. Some 
teleological theory follows systems theory with the concept of 
equifinality, which means that there is more than one way of 
achieving the desired ends. However, the organization's environment 
and resources constrain what it can accomplish. After the 
organization has attained its goal, it may strive to reach new ones, 
depending upon the external environment or needs within the 
organization itself. 

♦ 28 

3. Dialectical Theory 

This theory is based on Hegelian philosophy that organizations 
exist in a world of colliding forces that compete with each other for 
domination and control. These colliding forces may be external to 
the organization or internal to it with, for example, groups, having 
conflicting goals or interests competing for resources. Dialectical 
theory "... requires two or more distinct entities that embody these 
oppositions to confront and engage one another in conflict" (Van de 
Ven & Poole, 1995 p. 517). Stability is defined as a status quo that 
exists between two conflicting groups or individuals. Change occurs 
when one group or individual gains enough power and resources to 
confront the other and challenge the status quo. Thus, through the 
conflict of thesis and antithesis a new and different construct 
emerges which is called the synthesis. "By its very nature, the 
synthesis is a novel construction that departs from both the thesis 
and antithesis" (Van de Ven & Poole, 1995 p. 517). The dialectic 
conflict does not always result in a creative synthesis. One 
competing force may supplant the other with no synthesis taking 
place. It is also possible that one force totally suppresses the other 
and again no creative synthesis takes place. An example of a 
situation involving dialectic conflict and confrontation, where a 
creative synthesis is the result, can be seen in certain business 
mergers, where both companies to the merger battle to create their 
idea of what the new merged organization should look like. When 
both forces are relatively balanced, one cannot overpower the other 
and they therefore must work at creating the new company. 
However, if one side is more powerful then it may well overpower 

• 29 

the other and simply institute the way it currently runs its business. 
This latter example is one of dialectic conflict and confrontation with 
no creative synthesis taking place. 

4. Evolutionary Theory 

This theory is based on biological evolution that consists of a 
continuous cycle of variation, selection, and retention. Variation in 
organizations (new and different forms of organization) arises 
randomly. Selection occurs through the process of competition 
among organizations for resources. The organization that best takes 
advantage of the environmental niche survives. Retention occurs 
through forces that perpetuate and sustain certain organizational 
forms. "Thus, evolution explains change as a recurrent, cumulative, 
and probabilistic progression of variation, selection, and retention of 
organizational entities" (Van de Ven & Poole p. 518). A Lamarckian 
view states that variations are acquired through learning and 
imitation. The Darwinian view of the selection process is that small, 
continuous change occurs over a long period of time. Selection occurs 
in small, short steps. Darwin wrote, "as natural selection acts solely 
by accumulating slight, successive, favourable variations, it can 
produce no great or sudden modification; it can act only by short and 
slow steps" (Darwin, 1936 p. 361). Van de Ven and Poole take this 
latter approach in defining evolutionary theory of change. They 
specifically focus on small cumulative changes in "...structural forms 
of populations of organizational entities across communities, 
industries, or society at large (Aldrich, 1979; Hannan, 1977; Van de 
Ven, 1995 p. 518). Other evolutionary theories take a different 

* 30 

position on this topic. Saltation thieory states that evolution occurs in 
sudden jumps. One such theory is "punctuated equilibrium" (Gould & 
Eldridge, 1977) which alternates sudden jumps with long periods of 
stability. Punctuated equilibrium as an evolutionary theory of 
organizational change is distinguishable from Van de Ven and Poole's 
by transformations taking place during short periods of time, instead 
of small cumulative changes occurring over long periods of time to 
accomplish transformation (Romanelli & Tushman, 1994). 

To summarize this section, Van de Ven and Poole have 
discussed four theories that account for change in organizational 
entities. These theories can be distinguished from each other by, a) 
the process of change, b) the motor that drives change, c) the unit of 
analysis which refers to single or multiple entities, and d) the mode 
of change which refers to prescribed or constructive modes. In the 
next section these mechanisms of change are explored in more detail 
to explain why change takes place and how it occurs. 

Distinguishing Characteristics of Van de Ven and Poole's 

Process Theories 

The Cycles and Motor of Change 

1. In Life-cycle theory, process is immanent, that is, it exists 
within the entity. Therefore, the stages of development are 
predetermined. The motor for change is the Life Cycle 
process itself. 2. In Teleological theory, the process is purposeful 
and progresses through the entity's learning process. The goals that 
the entity pursues must be generally agreed upon so that the entity 
acts in unison. The motor for change is the implementation of 

* 31 

the selected goal by the entity. 3. In Dialectic theory, the 
process is one of conflict between entities having thesis and 
antithesis which creates a synthesis or a suppression or destruction 
of one of the entities thus creating no synthesis. This cycle can be 
repeated. The motor for change is conflict and confrontation. 
4. In Evolutionary theory the process is one of repeating cycles of 
variation, selection, and retention. Competition is for scarce 
resources and the ability to take advantage successfully of a specific 
niche. It is the competition that serves as the motor for 

The Unit of Change 

Change can occur at different levels of organization. These 
include the individual, group, organization, and groups of 
organizations. Life-cycle and teleological theories operate on a 
single entity while evolution and dialectical theories operate on 
multiple entities. This is understandable when we consider that 
dialectic and evolution theories require conflict or competition 
respectively. Life-cycle and teleological theories are immanent from 
within the entity and therefore require only one entity to operate. 

Mode of Change 

There are two modes of change, constructive and 
prescribed. Each change theory can be distinguished according to 
how the cycle of change occurs. Cycles either develop in a 
constructive, or in a prescribed mode. Life-cycle and evolution 
theories develop from a prescribed mode since they either come 
from a built-in code or from a continuous series of modifications. 

• 32 

Teleological and dialectic theories must develop from a constructive 
mode of change since they are able to develop new and 
unprecedented forms. 

There is another important difference between the four 
theories of change that involves the degree to which change is 
achieved. Van de Ven and Poole state that evolution and life-cycle 
theory result in "first-order change" only while teleological and 
dialectic theory result in "second-order change" (Argyris, Putnam 
& Smith, 1985a; Bartunek, 1993; Watzlawik, Weakland & Fisch, 
1974). "First-order change" is change which is continuous and a 
variation on a theme. This is similar to Kanter's "small-c" change. 
"Second-order change" breaks with past assumptions and 
frameworks and is analogous to Kantor's "big-C" change. 

So far, this discussion has focused on four ideal type theories of 
change. However, Van de Ven and Poole point out that the real 
world of organizational change is more complex than can be 
explained by these four theories. There are two reasons for this 
greater complexity. First, change extends in time and space in any 
specific case. "The spatial dispersion of units and actors means that 
different influences may be acting simultaneously on different parts 
of the organization..." (Van de Ven, 1995 p. 526). This means that 
change takes time and this allows for different motors to come into 
play; therefore, more than one motor can impact a specific change 
situation. Second, change is complex and it is unlikely that any single 
motor will account for this complexity. As Van de Ven and Poole 
state, "... most specific theories of organizational development and 

* 33 

change are actually composites of two or more ideal-type motors" 
(VandeVen, 1995 p. 527). 

Van de Ven and Poole point out the importance of closely 
examining the relationships among motors of the four theories. They 
explore three types of relationships, a) the degree of nesting 
which refers to motors operating at the same time but at different 
levels in the organization, b) the timing of the motors which 
refers to whether two or more motors are operating at the same time 
or are alternating at different times, c) the degree motors 
complement or contradict each other. These three kinds of 
relationships are describing the relative balance between 
constructive and prescribed motors and therefore, the "...patterns of 
stability and change in an organization" that are the result of motors' 
relative balance (Van de Ven, 1988 p. 534), This area of discussion 
brings us to concepts involving systems theory. According to Van de 
Ven and Poole, as these different motors interplay, they set up either 
positive or negative feedback loops. Positive feedback loops are set 
up when constructive and prescribed motors "...reinforce[s] change 
and can produce exploding complexity" (Van de Ven, 1988 p. 535). 
Negative feedback loops are set up when constructive and prescribed 
motors counteract or cancel change effects, producing equilibrium. 
To further explain these concepts, when, for example, a prescribed 
motor (in either life-cycle and/or evolution theory) dominates an 
organization, it tends to restrict variation and repress internally 
generated variety. Whereas, when a constructive motor (either 
teleological and/or dialectic theories) dominates an organization, the 
organization may not be able to effectively control conflicting 

• 34 

subsystems and the result is the creation of too much variety and 

As Van de Ven and Poole explain it, "temporal shifts in the 
relative balance between positive and negative feedback loops in the 
operation of different change motors can push an organization a) to 
flow toward a fixed-point equilibrium, b) to oscillate in a periodic 
sequence between opposites, c) to bifurcate far from equilibrium and 
spontaneously create new structures, or d) to behave in a random 
fashion" (Van de Ven, 1988 p. 535). 


1. Change is an empirical observation. 

2. Change in an organization is viewed as being either 
predetermined or created. 

3. Prescribed change is considered first-order change. It is not 
something novel or unexpected. It is change "...within an existing 
framework that produces variations on a theme" (Van de Ven, 1988 
p. 522). 

4. Constructive change is considered second-order change. It 
is novel and original. It is "...a break with the past basic assumptions 
or framework" (Van de Ven, 1988 p. 523). 

5. Organizational change occurs at many different levels of the 

6. First-order change is more difficult to perceive since it is 
made up of an accumulation of small changes and there is 
"...sufficient continuity to anticipate and discern the direction of 

• 35 

7. Second-order change is more easily perceived since it is 
discontinuous with the past. 

8. Positive and negative feedback loops that involve the 
interplay of "motors" either promote second order change, inhibit it, 
or balance forces to create a dynamic equilibrium. 


Chin and Benne 
Chin and Benne present three groups of strategies for effecting 
planned change in organizations (Benne & Chin, 1976a). While Van 
de Ven and Poole present an explanation of change, Chin and Benne's 
approach is to present essentially a broad strategy in which many 
specific approaches can be placed within the parameters of planned 
change. Chin and Benne assume that these change strategies apply 
to all sizes of groups undergoing planned change, that is, that the 
processes are similar regardless of size. Furthermore, the authors do 
not differentiate among different kinds of systems undergoing 
planned change. 

Empirical-Rational Strategies 

One group of strategies is termed empirical-rational 
approach for effecting change. This refers to the belief that people 
are guided by reason and that they use rational thought processes in 
their own best self interest to determine if behavioral change is 
warranted. Several assumptions underlie this approach. First, is that 
people are rational. Second, is that people will follow their 
own rational self-interests when it is shown to them. Third, it is 
expected that people will adopt a change that is shown to them if 
they perceive it is in their best self-interest when it is rationally 
justified by the proposes. 

Empirical-Rational strategies, according to Chin and Benne , 
particularly appeal to Western thought and traditions. Science and 
basic research methods, a predisposition to accepting change as 

♦ 37 

normal, as well as general education, are cornerstones of Western 
society's attempt to understand, explain, and disseminate 
information about phenomena. Change takes place because we put 
knowledge acquired through scientific means into practice. In other 
words. Chin and Benne believe that we use our acquired knowledge 
in a logical way by taking actions that change how we do things, 
usually, we think, for the better, and, I would add, in individualistic 
terms. America, in particular, has developed means of taking basic 
research and converting the acquired knowledge, through applied 
technologies, whether to new forms of organization or consumer 
goods. Thus, the flow of research to application, and into individual 
use has been established so that knowledge, in general, is not only 
rapidly and easily disseminated throughout American society, but is 
a readily accepted process. In further relationship to business, 
Western culture's propensity for the scientific approach is 
demonstrated by line management's efforts to utilize people and 
technologies to gain the greatest efficiencies towards achieving 
organizational goals. Management, to accomplish this, employs 
experts using sociotechnical systems to analyze and develop the most 
efficient work systems. 

However, problems may be experienced in getting new ideas 
across and implementing changes in organization in most need of 
them. According to Chin and Benne, institutions which utilize 
empirical-rational strategies take the view that change in adopting 
new approaches in systems, i.e. applying knowledge and 
implementing rationally based changes, is enhanced when the "right" 
person is placed into the "proper" position. To achieve this, their 

• 38 

approach is to rely on personnel selection techniques using various 
assessment tools. 

Normative-Reed ucative Strategies 

A second group of strategies is termed by Chin and Benne as 
normative-reeducative. People are greatly influenced, both 
individually and socially, by cultural norms, that is, the values, 
attitudes, and beliefs that are accepted and communicated 
throughout their culture. Cultural norms are internalized and 
thereby have a powerful influence upon individual behavior. 
According to Chin and Benne, for change to occur at the personal 
level, the individual must alter his or her values, attitudes, beliefs, 
and habits. For changes to occur at the sociocultural level, alterations 
in cultural norms must take place. For changes to occur at the 
institutional level, roles and relationships must be altered. 
Assumptions that underlie this approach are different than the 
previous strategy and focus on human behavior and motivation. This 
group of strategies doesn't reject the rational approach, but rather 
emphasizes that human behavior is the result of commitment to 
societal and cultural norms. According to this approach, people will 
only change when "...their normative orientations to old patterns [are 
given up] and develop commitments to new ones" (French, Bell & 
Zawacki, 1994 p. 112). In other words, change occurs, when people 
change both their values, attitudes, and relationships in addition to 
changing their information, knowledge, and rational constructs. 

Common elements involved in the normative-reeducative 
strategies emphasize that the client system must participate by being 

• 39 

fully involved in developing programs of change. Another element is 
that improved technology will not be solely the solution, but rather 
that problems involve the client's systems attitudes, values, and 
beliefs, as well as, their external and internal relationships. 
Alteration of these norms may be required as a means of finding 
solutions to its problems. Another common element to this set of 
strategies is that change requires a collaborative effort between the 
change agent and the client system (This is clearly based on 
consultant assisted change situations). Only in these ways can 
problems be identified and solutions be proposed and implemented. 

"These approaches center in the notion that people technology 
is just as necessary as thing technology in working out desirable 
changes in human affairs" (French et al., 1994 p. 121). In other 
words, including human factors of emotions, values, and behaviors is 
as much a critical element as any other (including technological 
factors) in solving organizational problems and implementing change. 

Several approaches to change fall into normative-reeducative 
strategies. These include the sociotechnical systems approach, 
mentioned earlier, that strongly emphasize that in order for change 
to take place, both the human as well as the technical issues involved 
must be equally considered. Another, is the approach that posits 
that the individual is the basic unit of the organization. Therefore, 
the individual must be freed from restraints that prevent him/her 
from utilizing natural intelligence and abilities, and conditions are 
developed that support individual's ability to solve problems and 
implement change. All of these approaches have in common an 
important element; this is the emphasis on experienced-based 

♦ 40 

learning as a requirement for creating enduring change. 
This concept comes from Lewin who saw the value of acquiring 
learning from taking action. In this way, he believed, theory could 
be developed to advance our understanding of human behavior in 

Power-Coercive Strategies 

The third group of strategies is termed power-coercive. This 
refers to the application of power by those who have it onto those 
people who have less of it. Compliance is due to legitimate or 
authoritative use of power or through coersion. Power-coercive 
strategies seek to collect political and economic power in support of 
whatever change those utilizing these strategies propose. Thus, those 
who have power have the "right" of law on their side and can impose 
sanctions on those who challenge their power. To accomplish change, 
those opposed must gain power by gaining support "legally" for their 
views. Several ways this can be accomplished include strategies of 
nonviolence, the use of political institutions to achieve change, and 
change through "recomposition and manipulation of power elites" 
(French et al., 1994 p. 42). 

Nonviolent movements have brought moral values to change 
existing norms and the laws that support them. Dr. Martin Luther 
King in the United States and Mahatma Gandhi in India sought to 
change existing nationwide norms by gaining power for their 
movements through challenging non-violently the prevailing norms. 
By bringing the world's focus on what they believed to be repugnant 
moral values, they amassed tremendous support for change. 

• 41 

Political institutions are granted power through constitutional 
and legislative laws. Change can occur when a group gains sufficient 
support to change the laws, place their supporters in key position 
within the institution, or throw out those who currently fill those 


1. People are basically rational creatures and they can be 
manipulated through logical argument. This is an Empirical-Rational 

2. Change is a normal occurrence in Western society. 

3. Cultural norms have a profound impact upon people in 
social settings. This is a Normative-Reed ucative perspective. 

4. Individuals will change when they alter their values, 
attitudes, beliefs, and habits. 

5. When we want to change how people do things we must 
consider the interplay of technology and human behavior. 

6. The use of power and coercion can gain people's compliance. 
This is a Power-Coercive perspective. 

Comparisons of the Work of Kanter et al.. Van de Ven and Poole. 

and Chin and Benne 

This section compares the work of the three researchers 
discussed so far in this paper. The comparisons are made on the 
bases of three questions: 

• 42 

1. "What is the change process?" This refers to the forces or 
mechanisms involved, how change takes place and what process 
or mechanism makes it happen. 

2. "What is changed?" This refers to the actual tangible aspects of 
change, to what degree has it happened, and how those involved 
are aware of the extent to which the change is concrete and real. 

3. "What are other distinguishing characteristics that change 
research addresses?" This question is used to explore further any 
other factors that might help in the comparison of the researchers' 

1 . "What is the change process?" 

1. a Forces of Change 
The forces that initiate change, are viewed similarly by Kanter 
et al. and Van de Ven and Poole. Kanter et al. refer to "triggers" in 
describing their three forces of change: environment, life-cycle, and 
political. Similarly, Van de Ven and Poole refer to "motors" in 
describing their four forces of change as life-cycle, teleological, 
evolutionary, and dialectic. They also separate these forces into two 
groups according to whether the forces are prescribed or 
constructive. Chin and Benne don't refer to forces that initiate 
change; however, I think we may logically infer that their strategies, 
1) the use of reason, logical thought and self-interest, 2) appealing to 
human motivation, and 3) recognizing the need to comply with 
applied power, are actually forces for change. Therefore, the three 
research groups explain the forces for change in somewhat similar 

• 43 

ways. What they have in common is analyzing change in terms of 
the forces that drive it . 

1. b How change takes place 

Kanter et al. and Van de Ven and Poole describe some of the 
above forces in nearly identical ways. The life-cycle force for both 
research groups refers to forces on an organization as it ages and 
matures. However, Van de Ven and Poole take life-cycle theory 
further by positing that it is a prescribed mode because the 
characteristics of the emerging organization are predetermined, that 
is, built into its development. Kanter et al. cite Greiner's (Greiner, 
1972) life-cycle as a typical example of an organization maturing, but 
they don't indicate the predetermined nature of the development 
process as do Van de Ven and Poole. For Kanter et al., life-cycle force 
drives microevolutionary change, that is ongoing change that takes 
place within the organization. 

"Macroevolutionary" change describes change from the 
perspective of the whole organization as it relates to its environment, 
according to Kanter et al. Van de Ven and Poole use the term 
"evolutionary theory" to describe the same phenomenon. For both it 
is an historical perspective that usually includes whole industries. 
Since environmental forces play a key role in shaping the 
organization, according to this concept, natural selection is an 
important element that they discuss. Kanter et al. and Van de Ven 
and Poole describe a similar evolutionary theories. Kanter et al. go 
into considerable detail in discussing the forces of natural selection 
and in particular, that of the concept of "fit." "Fit" refers to how well 

• 44 

an organization fits into a particular environmental niche. The better 
the "fit" the better the chance for survival. Kanter et al. describe 
additional forces that play a part in an organization's chances for 
survival. These are "population ecology", "resource dependency", and 
"institutional theory". Population ecology is the basic biological view 
of evolution. This is essentially the same as Van de Ven and Poole's 
description of evolutionary theory: change takes place by the 
process of random mutation, environmental selection of forms most 
fit for survival, and retention of the patterns that are most 

Therefore, Kanter et al. and Van de Ven and Poole, have 
markedly similar perspectives in the areas of evolutionary theory 
and life-cycle theory. However, they don't agree as strongly in other 
areas. Kanter et al. discuss the role of politics in revolutionary 
change. Political actions can have powerful impacts on organizations 
to the extent that radical changes take place. Van de Ven and Poole 
don't discuss politics' role as a force in organizational change. 

However, Chin and Benne refer to a "power-coercive" strategy 
that describes the use of power and coercive strategies in changing 
people and organizations. Kanter et al. would view this as 
"revolutionary change." 

Van de Ven and Poole discuss two forces of change that the 
other research groups don't consider. Van de Ven and Poole discuss 
"dialectic" and "teleo logical" theory and their respective motors of 
change are confrontation and conflict for the former and purposeful 
enactment for the latter. 1 think that dialectic confrontation and 
conflict would fit well as a force of change in Chin and Benne's 

♦ 45 

"rational-empirical" and "power-coercive" strategies as well as in 
Kanter et al's "revolutionary theory." The reason for this is that the 
dialectic process is commonly associated with and applied to these 
situations. For example, Chin and Benne's "rational-empirical" 
strategy is based on assumptions that people are rational and logical. 
The dialectic process provides a format for presenting logical 
arguments. In addition, the dialectic process is also involved in the 
situation where a synthesis doesn't take place but where one side 
overpowers the other, a situation Chin and Benne describe as 
"power-coercive." This often occurs in business mergers where the 
financially and politically stronger partner takes over the other. 
Thus, dialectic theory has applications to the work of the other 
theorists in the areas associated with the creation of a new 
framework, or as Van de Ven and Poole would refer to it, 
"constructive mode of chainge" and Kanter et al. call "big-C" or 
transformational change. This type of change is constructive rather 
than prescribed in Van de Ven and Poole's terms. 

2. "What is Changed?" 

This refers to the actual tangible aspects of change, to what 
degree has it happened, and how those involved are aware of the 
extent to which the change is concrete and real. 

Each of the three research groups have a somewhat different 
view of what is changed during organizational change. Kanter et al. 
view what is changed from the perspective of "character" which 
refers to "enduring patterns of behavior" of both the organization 
and the members in it (Kanter et al., 1992 p. 10). Van de Ven and 


Poole state that what is changed is the "... form, quality, or state over 
time in an organizational entity" (Van de Ven, 1988 p. 512). Chin 
and Benne explain what is changed when they discuss "normative- 
reeducative" strategies, which are the orientations that are composed 
of values, attitudes, skills and important relationships common to the 
members of an organization. Whether the researchers term what 
changes, as character, form, quality, function, or normative 
orientations, all of these terms have in common the view of the 
fundamental nature of change in organizations and its members. 
Change, according to these researchers, does not involve superficial 

Kanter et al. consider two degrees of change as do Van de Ven 
and Poole. Kanter et al. in describing change refer to it as "big-C" or 
transformational change, if it involves an entirely new state or, as 
Kuhn refers to it a "paradigm" change. They refer to the other type 
of change as "small-c, " or " transitional change," using Kuhn's terms. 
Van de Ven and Poole refer to change that takes place within the 
existing framework and that doesn't create a new framework, as 
"first-order change", (Kanter et al.'s' "small-c" change). When change 
breaks with the past and creates a new framework, Van de Ven and 
Poole refer to it as "second-order change" (Kanter et al'.s "big-C" 

Kanter et al. believe that transformational change results from 
many "small-c" changes that accumulate over time. At some point, 
the accumulated change is perceived as something completely new 
and different than what preceded it. Van de Ven and Poole and Chin 
and Benne largely view change according to the results that take 

* 47 

place. They look at the type of strategy that is employed to achieve 
"modifications of patterns and institutions of practice" (Benne & 
Chin, 1976a p. 22). Individual habits, attitudes, beliefs, and values 
are altered when normative-reeducative strategies are employed. 
Van de Ven and Poole believe that transformational change occurs 
through goal oriented purposeful change (teleological) or 
confrontation and conflict (dialectic). Kanter et al. do state that 
radical change ("big C" change) can take place during revolutionary 

However, Van de Ven and Poole's focus is somewhat different 
from Chin and Benne in the way their four change theories are 
viewed " terms of their action and process," not by the results 
of the change (Van de Ven & Poole, 1995 p. 524). Van de Ven and 
Poole look at the dimensions of the unit of change and mode of 
change as a means of distinguishing their four theories of change (as 
described on page 20-21). Chin and Benne focus on strategies and 
the processes of implementation that people use in association with 
those strategies in organizational change. Actions and processes of 
change are explained by Van de Ven and Poole as either prescribed 
or constructive, and by the organizational level that the actions and 
processes take place. 

Also, these research groups differ according to how change is 
perceived. Kanter et al. view change as both a perceptual and an 
empirical phenomenon. They see it as an accumulation of small 
changes that build until there is a sudden perception that a 
qualitative shift has taken place. This means that the small changes 
that have taken place were not at a threshold level of perception, 

• 48 

and therefore, were not noticed. Kanter et al. also view change as 
empirical and measurable. However, Van de Ven and Poole only 
discuss change from an empirical perspective. Chin and Benne also 
view change as measurable and independent of the change strategy 

Kanter et el. are fundamentally different from the other two 
research groups in their belief that change, at least in part, is a 
matter of individual and sociocultural perception. By taking this 
position, Kanter et al. bring the question of "objective reality" versus 
"multiple reality" to the issue of organizational change. 

3. "What are other distinguishing characteristics that change research 

Kanter et al. have a dynamic view of organizational systems. 
They describe organizations in terms of motion. Motion is ascribed to 
activity clusters. Activity clusters are in constant motion as projects 
and teams change their shape and form, as well as, their goals and 

Van de Ven and Poole discuss concepts that describe the 
interaction of "motors" in terms of systems theory. In particular, 
they describe how positive feedback loops involving "motors" add 
"exploding complexity" to change while negative feedback loops also 
involving "motors" restrain change or create equilibrium which 
balances the forces for change. 

These two additional views, to a large extent, account for the 
complexity of organizational systems and the difficulty in 
implementing change in an entire enterprise. Chin and Benne's 


strategy approach addresses these complex issues indirectly. 
According to Chin and Benne, we need first to alter human behavior 
and motivation in order to accomplish organizational change. 


Elaine Romanelli is an associate professor in management and 
strategy at the School of Business, Georgetown University. She 
received her Ph.D. Degree from the Graduate School of Business, 
Columbia University, Her current research interests include 
longitudinal studies of the contexts, processes, and consequences of 
the establishment of organizations in the motion picture and 
biotechnology industries. 

Michael L. Tushman is the Philip Hettleman Professor of 
Management at the Graduate School of Business, Columbia University. 
He received his Ph.D. degree from the Sloan School of Management, 
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His current research interests 
include the relationship between technological change, executive 
teams, and organizational evolution. They have co written several 
articles on an application of paleobiology theory to explain 
transformational change in organizations, which they call 
"Punctuated Equilibrium." 

Description of Punctuated Equilibrium 
Romanelli and Tushman (Romanelli & Tushman, 1994; 
Tushman & Romanelli, 1985), posit this theory which is based upon 
Stephen Jay Gould's scientific work (Gould, 1982; Gould, 1989). 

* 50 

Romanelli and Tushman write that organizational transformation 
takes place over essentially two periods: the first is the "convergent 
period" which consists of a long period of stasis and equilibrium. 
Small changes (first order change or small "c" change) may occur, but 
mechanisms within the organization maintain a stasis so that these 
small changes cannot transform the organization. The second period 
is the "period of reorientation," w^hich is a much shorter period, 
characterized by rapid and pervasive discontinuous change. These 
researchers term this type of change "revolutionary". 

Stasis and equilibrium are maintained during the convergent 
period because of three barriers to radical change in human 
systems: cognition, motivation, and obligation. Cognition, 
which refers to the mental framework or schemata that structure the 
way we think and perceive the world around us, hinders our abilities 
to break out of our patterned ways of thinking. Motivation keeps 
us tied to what is familiar and comfortable, partly because of the fear 
of venturing into the unknown. Obligation, is the network of 
interdependences which locks us into resource relationships that 
maintain the structure of the organization. 

In general, "revolutions" occur when the system needs to 
change because of pressures that disrupt it. Pressures that disrupt 
can refer to (1) "...internal changes [that] pull parts and action out 
of alignment with each other and environmental changes [that] 
threaten the system's ability to obtain resources" (Tushman & 
Romanelli, 1985 p. 21), and (2) environmental forces. Both of 
these forces impact the organization's strategic orientation and make 
that orientation inappropriate. Such forces as unforeseen maturation 


in product life cycles, changes in the legal or social climate, or the 
invention of "substitute products and/or technologies" create 
revolutions (Tushman & Romanelli, 1985 p. 21). Gersick, another 
theorist who supports the punctuated equilibrium theory, refers to 
these pressures as energy for change with the actual trigger for 
change being a crisis (Gersick, 1991). 


1 . "What is the change process?" 

Romanelli and Tushman posit a theory of revolutionary change. 
The concept, as well as the term, is similar to Kanter et al.'s 
revolutionary change, because both can be caused by political actions 
of top management and the results are sudden transformation. 
Romanelli and Tushman differ with Kanter et al's. and Van de Ven 
and Poole's evolutionary theories, which state that small changes 
accumulated over time and result in organizational transformation. 
Romanelli and Tushman state in describing punctuated equilibrium, 
that long periods of relative stability are "punctuated" by short 
periods of transformational change. Organizations have mechanisms 
of cognition, motivation, and obligation that prevent small changes 
from resulting in transformational change. Romanelli and Tushman 
believe that transforaiational change requires a "trigger" of sufficient 
strength to override these mechanisms. Powerful "triggers" include 
severe crisis in organizational performance, major environmental 
changes, and top management succession. In comparing Romanelli 


and Tushman with Chin and Benne, Chin and Benne's empirical- 
rational strategy, could be a useful concept in Romanelli and 
Tushman's disruptive pressures because it provides a rational and 
logical basis on which to take action which can be explained 
rationally to those subject to the change. For example, as the 
organization experiences financial setbacks, new top management 
may be brought on board. These new leaders may initiate 
revolutionary change in their attempts to turn the company around. 
Van de Ven and Poole might consider this example of change as a 
combination of two motors, a dialectic one which promotes the need 
for new leadership and teleological motor that supports a strategic 
plan for accomplishing change. 

2. "What is changed?" 

Romanelli and Tushman describe "a network of fundamental, 
interdependent 'choices,' of the basic configuration into which a 
system's units are organized, and the activities that maintain both 
this configuration and the system's resource exchange with the 
environment" as the concept of deep structure (Tushman & 
RomaneUi, 1985 p. 21). In other words, these are the fundamental 
elements of an organization and its relationship with its 
environment. In Romanelli and Tushman's transformation concepts, 
it is this deep structure that undergoes change. This idea of the 
fundamental nature of organizational change is similar to those of the 
other theorists discussed in this paper. Transformational change 
breaks the framework or schemata under which the organization has 
operated and existed. This is the same as Van de Ven and Poole's 


"second-order" change or Kanter et al. "big-C" change. Chin and 
Benne's normative culture relates to Romanelli and Tushman's "deep 
structure," although the former's does not include consideration of 
the "resource exchange" with the environment. 

3. "What are other distinguishing characteristics that change research 

Romanelli and Tushman's theory is distinct from other 
evolutionary theories because change occurs within a single entity. 
Other theorists posit that change occurs within a population and it is 
the population that is eventually changed. 


Benyamin M. Lichtenstein earned his Ph.D. degree in 
Organizational Studies at the Carroll School of Management at Boston 
College. His latest paper, explaining his theories, won Best Paper 
Award at the Best-Papers Session, Organizational Development and 
Change Division, at the Academy of Management Meeting, 1995. 
Lichtenstein proposes a theor>^ of self-organization which derives 
from systems theory and systems theorists including Noble Prize 
winner llya Prigogine (Prigogine, 1980; Prigogine & Nicolis, 1977; 
Prigogine & Nicolis, 1989; Prigogine & Stengers, 1984) and Gemmill 
and Smith (Gemmill & Smith, 1985). 

Description of the Three Stage Self-Organizing Model 

Self-organization theory discusses organizations as integrative 
natural systems which utilize relatively large amounts of 
environmental resources and energy to self-organize their structural 
integrity (Lichtenstein, 1995). To further explain, a key concept of 
self-organizing systems is that they maintain themselves through 
a self-sustaining dynamic process. This is often referred to as a 
'far-from-equilibrium state." This means that systems "...are 
vigorously transforming energy in all its forms, and diffusing 
(dissipating) large quantities of spent resources (entropy) into their 
immediate environment" (Lichtenstein, 1995 p. 19-20). A concrete 
example of this phenomenon, provided by Lichtenstein, " a vortex 
in a river; while billions of water molecules flow through the area. 


the vortex - a relatively stable macroscopic order - persists" 
(Lichtenstein, 1995 p. 20). 

It is through this process, according to Lichtenstein, that 
dissapative structures, such as self-organizing systems, self- 
generate order. They accomplish this through actively exchanging 
energy with their environment and through internal feedback loops 
that generate non-linear amplification effects. This dynamic, open 
system process transforms resource flow into structural order. This 
process maintains organizational integrity in dynamic stability. The 
term natural organization is applied to systems that self-generate 
resources, rather than being directed externally. 

Under normal circumstances, according to Lichtenstein, 
organizational resistance to change is maintained through the concept 
of "order parameter." "Order parameter" buffers and protects the 
organization from environmental intrusions and fluctuations in 
ongoing system activity. However, when a crisis occurs that the 
"order parameter" cannot dampen, transformation takes place, 
beginning with a period of unpredictability. The organizational 
system attempts to regain its dynamic stability through 
experimenting with new structures. A new structure is selected 
when it can "produce resources which reinforce itself..." 
(Lichtenstein, 1995 p. 21). In other words, the system generates a 
non-linear feedback loop. As discussed in my Qualification paper #1 
(Rathmill, 1997), cause and effect in non-linear systems does not 
apply in a one-to-one relationship and further, a small change can 
cause a system-wide transformation through amplification as part of 


a positive feedback loop. It is this amplification caused by positive 
feedback loops that begins the self reinforcement cycle. 

According to Lichtenstein, there are three stages to self- 
organization transformation. First, an organization must accomplish 
two critical tasks simultaneously; it must produce the work it is 
accountable for, and regulate or sustain itself. This activit>' is called 
the dynamic consonance stage. Second, a trigger, as explained 
earlier, initiates fluctuations that go beyond the "order parameter's" 
ability to control it. A bifurcation or split from the established 
structure ensues and increases due to amplification effects of 
positive feedback loops. The third and final stage is where the 
organization experiments with new structural configurations in order 
to resolve the instability. The organization "...rapidly sort[s] for one 
[configuration] which successfully generates a new resonance in the 
organization/environment" (Lichtenstein, 1995 p. 24). This is called 
the transformation stage. The result of these self-organizing 
stages, according to Lichtenstein, is to create an organizational 
structure that utilizes resources most effectively. These three stages 
exist as an ongoing cycle of organizational change. "The normal 
evolution of organizations proceeds from transformation to 
transformation" (Leifer, 1989 p. 912). 


1 . "What is the change process?" 

Lichtenstein's self-organization theory is not based upon 
biological analogies as is the punctuated equilibrium of Romanelli 


and Tushman, evolutionary theory of Van de Ven and Poole, or 
Kanter et al. It is based upon systems theory and quantum 
mechanics. The following comparisons can be made. 

Biological Analogies 

First, there are differences among the theorists who use 
biological analogies. Romanelli and Tushman write that 
transformation occurs in alternating periods of convergence and 
reorientation in punctuated equilibrium theory, Kanter et al. state 
that in their evolutionary theory change is gradual and accumulates 
over time before it becomes transformational or "big-C" change. Van 
de Ven and Poole's evolutionary theory coincide with Kanter et al.'s. 
However, Kanter et al. do say that rapid change (revolutionary 
change) can take place because of political decisions. 
Neither Liechtenstein nor Chin and Benne use a biological analogy. 

Change Mechanisms: Stages and triggers 
Lichtenstein and Van de Ven and Poole view the complexities 
involved in organizational dynamics and change from the similar 
perspective of systems theory. Lichtenstein writes that under 
systems theory, organizations can be seen as self-generating their 
own order through the use of resources and energy. Continuous 
renewal of components maintains a dynamic stability. 
Transformational change, according to Lichtenstein, occurs when 
energy flux exceeds dampening mechanisms. There are three self- 
organizing stages of change, according to Lichtenstein: dynamic 
consonance, bifurcation, and transformation. Van de Ven and Poole 
similarly state that it is the relative balance between constructive 


and prescribed motors that create the patterns of stabihty and 
change in organizations. Both of these theorists stress the impact of 
positive and negative feedback loops on organizational systems. This 
impact can amphfy change, constrain it, or balance the forces to 
create an equilibrium. 

Other theorists posit that change mechanisms are based on 
either an evolutionary theory of slow accumulation of small changes 
as the case of Kanter et al, (except for revolutionary change) or an 
evolutionary theory of alternating long periods of equilibrium and 
sudden change over a relatively brief period of time as in the case of 
Romanelli and Tushman. Chin and Benne view mechanisms from a 
rational, behavioral perspective. 

These theorists provide explanations as to what mechanisms 
exist that normally prevent change from taking place. Lichtenstein 
writes that in every system there exists order parameters that 
dampen the effects of positive and negative feedback loops and 
external intrusions. Only when the order parameter is overwhelmed 
by a crisis, does transformation process take place. Romanelli and 
Tushman state that three buffers exist that resist change: cognition, 
motivation, and obligation. Chin and Benne see resistance in the 
form of people unwilling to give up their old attitudes, beliefs, and 
values. Resistance is lowered when people can open themselves to 
learn from their ongoing experiences. Kanter et al. posit "The 
implementation of dominant strategic direction involves a complex 
structure of formal and informal contracts which act to perpetuate 
the strategy" (Kanter et al., 1992 p. 50). In other words, resistance 
to change comes from people who maintain their own interest, goals, 


and group memberships. Van de Ven and Poole don't discuss 
resistance to change. 

A significant difference between Romanelli and Tushman's and 
Van de Ven and Poole's, and Kanter et al.'s evolutionary theories is 
that in punctuated equilibrium, change takes place within a single 
entity not in a population of entities. This means that the individual 
organization undergoes transformation. According to Lichtenstein 
(Lichtenstein, 1995), this is questionable since evolutionary theories, 
as Kanter et al.'s and Van de Ven, requires variation, selection, and 
retention in a population for the process to operate. According to 
Lichtenstein, Romanelli and Tushman provide no explanation for 
variation to occur and no selection process is defined. In addition, 
there is no mechanism defined to enable selection of one from among 
a number of variations. 

In punctuated equilibrium theory, second order change is not a 
matter of an accumulation of small changes that eventually 
overpower the forces of inertia as it is in Van de Ven and Poole and 
Kanter et al. Instead according to Gersick, in punctuated equilibrium, 
small changes are linked together, they are not independent. 
"According to punctuational paradigms when basic premises change, 
all the premises contingent on them are affected" (Gersick, 1991 p. 
21). Since small changes are linked to each other, a few of them can 
have a profound impact on the entire organization. Although, neither 
Gersick nor Romanelli and Tushman mention a similarity of this 
linkage concept to systems theor>^ it appears that there is a 
connection since the linking of small changes seems to cause an 
amplification of change effects that takes place in systems theory. 


2. "What is changed?" 

Transformation impacts the organization's dual integrative 
processes that include a) interactions with the environment and 
processes used to produce its products or services, and b) activities 
that maintain and support the organization. This is similar to 
Romanelli and Tushman's deep structure, Kanter et al.'s "character. 
Van de Ven and Poole's "... form, quality, or state over time in an 
organizational entity", and Chin and Benne's "values, attitudes, skills 
and important relationships or normative culture." What all of these 
researchers have in common is the concept that what is changed are 
the basic, fundamental aspects of the organization that defines itself 
and gives it its identity. 

3. "What are other distinguishing characteristics that change research 

As briefly referred to above, Connie Gersick, is another 
proponent of punctuated equilibrium. Her research has been on 
organizational change at the project group level (Gersick, 1991; 
Gersick, 1988). She found that project groups with life spans of as 
little as an hour to as much as several months, all initiated major 
transitions in their operations "precisely halfway between their 
start-ups and expected deadlines" (Gersick, 1991 p. 24). Triggers for 
these transitions came from participants who perceive the midpoint 
in time as a signal to get moving before time ran out. In other words, 
according to Gersick, it is the perception of time, not an event, that 
causes the start of significant change in punctuated equilibrium 


Kurt Lewin was a most influential social psychologist who 
developed numerous theories involving human behavior in social 

Lewin's Three Phase Model of Change 
Lewin theorized that organizational change occurred in three 
phases. The first phase is termed "unfreezing" the organization. This 
means that the organization's current level of behavior needs to be 
disturbed to the extent that it would be open to change. To 
accomplish this, Lewin stated that to the organization needed to be 
given new or disconforming data that challenged existing beliefs and 
attitudes. This, according to Lewin, could be accomplished through 
feedback of survey results to organizational participants. The second 
phase, termed "movement", involves taking actions that change the 
social system from its current level of behavior, to a new level. This 
generally refers to actions that come under organization 
development interventions amd might include team development and 
organizational restructuring (Burke, 1992). The final phase, termed 
"refreezing", involves putting in place processes that maintain the 
new level of behavior keeping it "relatively secure against change" 
(Burke, 1992 p, 56). Processes that can maintain the new behaviors 
include change to a participative form of management and 
encouraging cooperation and collaboration while discouraging 


Schein's Elaboration of Lewin's Model 
Edgar Schein, a social psychologist from Harvard University, 
helps clarify Lewin's three phase model. Schein states that there are 
three ways of "unfreezing" an organization. First , it is necessary for 
organizational members to recognize their dissatisfaction with the 
way things currently are, and feel a need to see a change. Second , 
they need to compare their current situation with a future goal and 
see that it is worthwhile going after. When people see this gap 
between what is and what could be, they become motivated by guilt 
or anxiety, according to Schein, to close the gap.The Fmal action 
necessary to "unfreeze" an organization is to create psychological 
safety for organizational members in making these changes. They 
must feel that they will not be punished or humiliated for admitting 
their contributions to what is wrong in the organization (Burke, 

Schein also elaborates on Lewin's second or "movement" phase. 
For people actually to change their behavior, Schein states that they 
must accomplish "cognitive restructuring." In other words, people 
must both see things differently than they did before, and act 
differently in the future. Schein states that this could be 
accomplished in two ways. One, is to identify with a new role model 
and thereby see things from a different perspective. 
The other, is to examine new and relevant information through 
scanning the environment. This might entail looking at other models 
of organizational and personal behavior. 

According to Schein, the third or "refreezing" phase involves 
integrating the changes. He states that this phase requires two steps. 

* 63 

First, the individual needs to make the new way of doing things fit 
comfortably into his or her total self-concept. Second, this phase 
requires relational refreezing. This involves open examination of the 
new behaviors' impact upon relationships with others in the 



1 . "What is the change process?" 

Lewin's work, even with Schein's elaboration, is primarily a 
model of how to implement change in organizations. However, this 
model does imply that a crisis, or at least a perception of a crisis, is 
necessary to "unfreeze" the organization. All of the other theories 
and models of change discussed in this paper posit some kind of 
crisis to act as a trigger for change in organizations. Lewin's model 
is most criticized for its apparent lack of dynamic forces in explaining 
change. Unlike Lichtenstein, Lewin's model seems to lack dynamic 
motion. Even the term "refreezing" runs against current perceptions 
of organizational dynamics being a battle of forces. In addition, 
today's businesses are in a constant state of change and further, the 
rate of change in today's markets and technologies does not allow 
time for "refreezing." "The cycles tumble on so fast that whatever is 
refrozen lasts only weeks or months instead of years" (Weisbord, 
1987 p. 94). Lewin's model, with Schein's elaboration, is most similar 
to Chin and Benne's because it explains change from the perspective 

• 64 

of human needs and behaviors. It focuses on what needs to be done 
in getting the cooperation of employees to act on required changes. 
For example, to "unfreeze" the organization employees must perceive 
a need for change, be motivated by guilt and anxiety to act on closing 
the gap between the current behavior and the desired future 
behavior, and require psychological safety to change their behavior. 
In addition, employees need to feel comfortable with the changes so 
as to integrate them as part of the "refreezing" phase. 

2. "What is changed?" 

It is the behavior of organizational members that is changed, 
according to Lewin. This is most similar to Chin and Benne in their 
discussions of Normafive-Reeducative concepts. However, Lewin 
does not indicate the depth of the behavior change as being at the 
level of attitudes, beliefs, and norms as do the other theorists. 

3. "What are other distinguishing characteristics that change research 

Kanter et al. wrote in reference to Lewin's three phase change 
model, "This quaintly linear and static conception - the organization 
as ice cube ~ is so wildly inappropriate that it is difficult to see why 
it has not only survived but prospered..." (Kanter et al., 1992 p. 10). 
Kanter et al. continue their criticism by stating that Lewin's model 
provides managers with a straightforward way of planning their 
actions to accomplish organizational change. It simplifies " 
extraordinarily complex process into a child's formula" (Kanter et al., 
1992 p. 10). 

• 65 


Richard Beckhard was a professor of organization behavior and 
management at the Sloan School, Massachusetts Institute of 
Technology from 1963 to 1984. He is one of the founders of the field 
of organization development. Wendy Pritchard is an occupational 
psychologist. She has twenty yeai's of experience in the field of 
organizational effectiveness and the management of complex change. 

Fundamental Change in Complex Organizations 

Beckhard, Pritchard, and Ruben T. Harris, in several works, 
present a model not a theory of organizational change (Beckhard & 
Harris, 1987; Beckhard & Pritchard, 1992). This model is included 
here because of its elaborate nature and its ability to describe and 
explain organizational change. As such, it provides the reader with 
similar value as do theories. This model explain how organizational 
change can be managed. It describes the entire process, including 
actions management must take in order to accomplish fundamental 
change. They distinguish between incremental and fundamental 
change. According to Beckhard et al., attempting incremental change 
requires a linear approach, which takes actions in sequential order. 
Accomplishing fundamental change, on the other hand, requires 
simultaneous consideration of the organization, all of its components, 
and the relationships among all of the organization's pieces. 
According to Beckhard et al., fundamental change involves change in 
the very "essence" of the organization. More specifically, it involves 
change in the organizations' "...memories, maps, norms, and values" 

* 66 

(Beckhard & Pritchard, 1992 p. 16). It also involves its members' 
attitudes and behaviors. Change of this magnitude is really a 
constellation of changes "...that are both descrete and interdependent 
and that must be managed simultaneously" (Beckhard & Pritchard, 
1992 p. 8). The model that Beckliard et al., describe is for large- 
system change in complex organizations. Large-systems usually 
refers to either the entire organization or a significant component of 

Beckhard et al. emphasize that change primarily is forced upon 
organizations because of increasing environmental pressures. These 
outside influences include: increasing governmental regulations, 
increasing demands by citizen groups, increasing legislated legal 
requirements, increasing pressure from consumer and 
environmentalist groups concerning social issues, and increasing 
constraints resulting from interdependency with various institutions. 

Beckhard et al's. model involves management in first defining 
the present and future state including the reason for change and 
what the desired new state will be. Second, it involves consideration 
of the transition state. This state refers to the period between the 
old way things were done and the way it will be done after the 
change has been successfully completed. This is a period of 
confusion relating to roles, responsibilities, and authority. Issues 
that need to be considered, according to Beckhard et al., during the 
transition state include determining the extent to which there is 
choice about whether to change, determining what needs to be 

• 67 

changed, determining where the intervention should be focused, and 
choosing what intervention technologies should be utilized. 

Third, according to Beckhard et al. their model involves 
developing plans for managing the transition state. This 
involves determining management mechanisms and considering 
whether the normal structure or a separate, parallel one should 
manage the change effort. According to Beckhard et al., an essential 
component of managing the transition state is development of a road 
map or process plan for the change. Their process plan is composed 
of seven parts: ( 1 ) it is purposeful with activities clearly linked to 
goals and priorities, (2) it is task specific with activities well defined, 
(3) it is integrated with links among activities clearly made, (4) it is 
time sequenced, (5) it is adaptable to take into account unexpected 
events and circumstances, (6) it has the full active support and 
participation of top management, and (7) it is cost effective in terms 
of investment of people and time spent (Beckhard & Harris, 1987). 

Fourth, according to Beckhard et al., the model involves 
developing mechanisms for monitoring and evaluating the 
change effort. Issues that need to be considered include: (1) 
clearly defining the purpose and function of evaluation, (2) 
determining the types of information needed by management and 
the appropriate sources of information, (3) choosing data collection 
methods appropriate for the scale of evaluation in regards to time, 
and effort, and (4) determining the timing of the data gathering and 
review by management (Beckhard & Harris, 1987). 


Fifth, Beckhard et al. state the importance of selecting the 
appropriate intervention technologies as dependent upon the 
change issues in the organization. For example, when change issues 
are induced by environmental factors, Beckhard et al. recommend 
approaching organizational change from an open systems 
perspective. Their definition and approach to open systems is based 
on the work of Eric Trist and Fred Emery. According to Beckhard et 
al., organizations exist in an environment, the boundary around them 
is permeable, and the organization is able to interact with its 
environment. Under open system concepts, planning change 
strategy requires: (1) mapping environmental demands, (2) clearly 
seeing present and desired organizational responses to these 
demands, (3) prioritizing activities that respond to these demands, 
and (4) systemizing assessment of the impact of these demands over 
time on organizational objectives (Beckhard & Harris, 1987). 

In their later research, Beckhard and Pritchard update the 
change model discussed above to include: (1) emphasizing the 
importance of the role of organizational leader and (2) the 
importance in fundamental change strategy to deliberately move 
toward implement "...a learning mode, where both learning and doing 
are equally valued" (Beckhard & Pritchard, 1992 p. 4). As part of 
their role, leaders must show their commitment to the change 
through their investment of time and careful examination of their 
behavior to insure that it fits the strategic plans. 

Beckhard and Pritchard posit that leaders are the only ones 
who can create the vision for the organization. A vision is a dynamic 

• 69 

picture of the organization in tlie future as seen by its leadership. 
Furthermore, it is a statement of commitment and priorities by 
organizational leaders to realize it. Leaders are responsible for 
creating and developing the vision, gaining commitment for it, 
ensuring the communication of the vision to all parts of the 
organization, diagnosing the organization's current state and 
identifying areas needing change, and overseeing the management of 
the entire change process. Beckhard and Pritchard further posit that 
there are five themes to focus on in fundamental change: ( 1 ) change 
in the mission or "reason to be," (2) change in the identity or external 
image, (3) change in relationships to key stakeholders, (4) change in 
the way work is done, and (5) change in the organization's culture 
(Beckhard & Pritchard, 1992). All of these themes are involved in 
any fundamental change. Organizational leaders must be aware of 
these themes and consider them when taking on change. 

A major component of Beckhard and Pritchard's thinking on 
fundamental change is the need for organizations to switch to a 
learning oriented mode rather than a results oriented mode. While 
organizations make fundamental changes, they must, at the same 
time, learn as they are doing it. However, it is up to the leaders of 
organizations to understand the value of moving to a learning 
organization, and it is only they who can make it happen. 

* 70 




1 . "What is the change process?" 

Beckhard et al. posit that forces for change primarily originate 
outside of the organization. These forces originate from various 
citizen lobbies, government rules and regulations, laws, and other 
factors that increasingly put pressure on organizations and require 
them to make fundamental changes. This is a limited view in that it 
does not explain any of the other mechanisms that cause change to 
happen, however, Beckhard et al. are not creating theory but a model 
for planning and implementing organizational change. 

2. "What Is changed?" 

Beckhard et al. describe fundamental change in a similar 
manner as the other theorists discussed in this paper. Beckhard and 
Pritchard describe fundamental change as changing the "essence" of 
an organization. Their definition is the same or similar to what is 
changed in Kanter et al's. "big-C" change. Van de Ven and Poole's 
second order change and Romanelli and Tushman's deep structure. 
Beckhard et al. also differentiate between incremental or linear 
change from fundamental change. It can be inferred that linear 
change is "small-c" change or first order change and does not 
transform the organization. Incremental change only helps it get 
better at what it is currently doing, according to Lichtenstein. 

• 71 

3. "What are other distinguishing characteristics that change research 

Beckhard and Pritchard emphasize to a greater extent than the 
other researchers the role of organizational leaders in impacting 
change. They state the importance of the leader's vision in guiding 
the organization by determining what needs to be changed rather 
than first examining symptoms and then determining changes that 
need to be made. This is a significantly more proactive approach to 
organizational change since it does not wait for problems first to 

At the beginning of this paper, I made the statement that 
organizational change is a complex subject. After studying the seven 
theories and models described in this paper and additional ones not 
presented here, my perception of organizational change has been 
reinforced and illuminated. I use the word "perception" 
purposefully. These and other theories show there are different 
ways of "seeing" what organizational change is and how one sees it 
may determines how one deals with it. Since there are apparently 
many ways of "seeing" change, it is important for me to understand 
where managers are coming from - what their own perception of 
reality is. Through this understanding, I can better help them see 
their situation and thereby better assist them in their change efforts. 

Additional important learnings include: 

1) Organizational change is a complex subject. 

♦ 72 

From studying the theories discussed in this paper, it is evident 
that organizational change is a complex subject. Indications of its 
complexity is shown by the diverse backgrounds from which the 
theories and models were developed, which include paleobiology, 
systems theory, evolution, human motivation, speech communication, 
and ancient societal organizations; by the large scope of change 
events included in their explanations; and the actual dynamic 
processes that take place within organizational systems. 

2) Is it possible to deliberately plan and implement organizational change? 

"Change is extraordinarily difficult, and the fact that it occurs 
successfully at all is something of a miracle" (Kanter et al, 1992 p. 
370). One reason for this difficulty is the attempt to picture change 
as a discrete process with specific steps to take that will lead the 
organization to a successful endstate. The theories described in this 
paper show that this is not the case. Change involves dynamic 
processes that are not fully understood. This is evidenced by the 
number of theories being explored. 

3) Theories provide a schemata of change that can be used for analysis 

The theories discussed in this paper provide a way of thinking 
about organizational change. Since they are theories, they help us 
organize our thoughts about the subject and enable us to make some 
assumptions and predictions about what has happened and what will 
happen. Given the schemata, we can then analyze the situation, and 
thereby, one would hope, gain a better understanding of what is 
going on and what we can do to make the situation better. 

• 73 

4) Which theoretical approach to planned change should be used? 

"Our company is in need of a profound transformation. We've 
read all the books. We know all the concepts and theories: transition 
management, frame- breaking, paradigms, empowerment, culture 
change, and so on. But we don't know how to implement the 
transformation. We don't even know how to make the theories 
operational -Manager in a leading Fortune 100 company" (Kanter et 
al., 1992 p. 369). 

From a practical standpoint, it doesn't seem to matter which 
approach is used in planning of organizational change, since all of 
these approaches give us the opportunity to analyze closely and 
reflect on the situation rather than react in a knee jerk fashion to 

5) Importance for change agents of understanding planned change 

The understanding achieved from the study of planned 
organizational change is important for those internal to the 
organization such as change managers and important for outside 
consultants by providing a framework from which to make plans and 
take action. Additionally, the importance of understanding is to 
increase the knowledge, on the part of the entire organizational 
community, about the complexity and the resulting difficulty in 
attempting to implement planned change. A deep knowledge of 
implementation requirements is necessary so that change strategists, 
change implementors, and change recipients all understand the scope 
of the challenges they face. From this understanding the 

• 74 

organization can approach planned change with the best possible 
chances of succeeding. 

Chapter Three will provide a review of the literature on 
theories of leadership. Thus, when analyzing the data of this study, 
these two Chapters will form the reference points for examining 
leaders in the context of transformational change. 


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A great many articles and books discussing leadership have 
been written and many theories on the nature of leadership from 
various perspectives have been promulgated. In addition, the 
popular press has featured well known leaders of corporations, 
including Mary Kay Ash (Mary Kay Cosmetics), Larry Ellison (Oracle), 
Bill Gates (Microsoft), Lee lacocca (Ford, Chrysler), Steven Jobs 
(Apple), Roger Milliken (Milliken), Anita Roddick (The Body Shop), 
Howard Schultz (Starbucks), Ted Turner (CNN, Atlanta Braves), and 
Jack Walsh (General Electric), to the extent that they have taken on a 
hero status in our culture. Similarly, much has been written about 
organizational change, particularly reengineering, downsizing, and 
the need for companies to be adaptable and flexible while "thriving 
on chaos" (Peters, 1987). Some of these authors include Tom Peters, 
Michael Hammer, Alvin Toffler, Warren Bennis, and John Whiteside. 
To a lesser extent, writings have emerged, often by leaders 
themselves explaining how leadership has turned organizations 
around. These leader/authors include David Kearns, Ray Stata, Bill 
Gates, Lee lacocca, and Jim McLamere. This chapter examines the 
professional literature on leadership and its links with planned 
organizational change. 

Many researchers and theorists contend that the role of 
organizational leader is of paramount importance in successful 

business. A representative sample of authors include Bechard and 

Pritchard, Bennis, Block, Covey, Katz and Kahn, Peters and Waterman, 

Tichy, and Weisbord. Others have discussed the importance of 

leadership in organizations' attempts at navigating change including , 

Argyris, Bennis and Nanus, Chawla and Renesch, Hurst, Moss Kanter, 

Schein, and Senge. Leadership seems to be the one crucial factor in 

the need to plan why, when, and how organizational change should 

occur. Leadership has this critical role because of its position power 

and its focal point for potentially "rallying the troops." 

To understanding the significance of the leaders' role in 

planned organizational change, this chapter will describe the 

literature focusing on what leadership is, how to evaluate its success, 

and the nature of the leader's role. A review of the literature on 

concepts of leadership from the perspective of leadership theorists 

and researchers will also be included. 


To examine and then describe leadership, we must first define 
it. Stogdill reviewed the leadership literature and concluded that 
"there are almost as many definitions of leadership as there are 
persons who have attempted to define the concept" (Stogdill, 1974 p. 
259). This is partly due to researchers' preferences to investigate 
what they find most interesting about leadership. Therefore, 
leadership has been defined in terms of influence, personal traits, 
behavior, charisma, management styles, and others aspects. 
Representative definitions of leadership over the years include: 


Leadership is "the behavior of an individual when he is 
directing the activities of a group toward a shared goal" 
(HemphiU & Coons, 1957a p. 7). 

Leadership is "interpersonal influence, exercised in a 
situation, and directed, through the communication 
process, toward the attainment of a specified goal or 
goals" (Tannenbaum, Weschler & Massarik, 1961 p. 24). 

Leadership is "the initiation and maintenance of structure 
in expectation and interaction", (Stogdill, 1974 p. 411). 

Leadership is "the influential increment over and above 
mechanical compliance with the routine directives of the 
organization" (Katz & Kahn, 1978 p. 528). 

Leadership is "the process of influencing the activities of 
an organized group toward goal achievement" (Rauch & 
Behling, 1984 p. 46). 

Leadership is a process of giving purpose (meaningful 
direction) to a collective effort, and causing willing effort 
to be expended to achieve purpose (Jacobs & Jaques, 

Leaders are those who consistently make effective 
contributions to social order, and who are expected and 
perceived to do so (Hosking, 1988). 

The above defmitions represent the diverse thinking on the 
nature of leadership. The little that they have in common centers on 
a social influence exerted intentionally by an individual over others 
to structure activities of groups or organizations (Yukl, 1994). 

Major Issues 
The following discussion examines the major issues in the 
literature of the nature of leadership, in order to help review the 


various ways leadership is perceived. These issues are listed below, 

so that, they can be later considered as we examine the literature on 
various leadership theories. 

One issue questions whether leadership is a result of role 
specialization or social influence. Role specialization views leadership 
as one role that occurs naturally in any organization, just as certain 
members are "destined" to play the role of follower (Bouchard, 
Lykken, McGue, Segal & Tellegen, 1990; McClelland, 1961; Stogdill, 
1974; Yukl, 1994). The person who becomes the leader does so 
because of certain properties that make him or her suited to be a 

Social influence views leadership as a process that naturally 
occurs in social systems and in which a number of members can play 
leadership roles (Senge, 1990a; Yukl, 1994). In this view leadership 
and followership are interchangeable depending upon conditions 
existing at any particular time within the organization. 

A second issue, concerns leaders' influence on members of the 
organization. It questions which attempts at influence by leaders are 
part of leadership. Is it only behavior related to task objectives or 
group maintenance, or does influence cover all behavior including 
those extraneous or detrimental to the organization? This issue 
questions the motives of leaders' use of influence; are they for the 
greater good or for selfish reasons? 

The third issue, examines the difference between leadership 
and management. Theorists seem to agree that management and 
leadership are different, but to what extent do they differ, or are 
they mutually exclusive? The difference between managers and 


leaders according to some researchers is that mangers are oriented 

toward stability and leaders are oriented toward innovation. In 
other words, these researchers believe that managers seek to 
maintain the functioning of the organization while leaders seek 
growth and renewal for the organization. Bennis and Nanus stated 
that "managers are people who do things right and leaders are 
people who do the right thing" (Bennis & Nanus, 1985 p. 21). Other 
theorists perceive leadership and management in a different way 
(Hickman, 1990; Kotter, 1988). They view leadership and 
management as distinct processes that can be performed by the 
same individual. They do not view leaders and managers as 
different types of people. Kotter views management as processes 
consisting of planning and budgeting, organizing and staffing, and 
controlling and problem solving; whereas, he sees leadership 
comprising of processes including establishing direction, aligning 
people, motivating and inspiring them (Kotter, 1990). 

Karmel points out that, "It is consequently very difficult to 
settle on a single definition of leadership that is general enough to 
accommodate these many meanings and specific enough to serve as 
an operationalization of the variable" (Karmel, 1978). The definition 
of leadership chosen for this dissertation is a broad one of Yukl's 
which is all inclusive: 

Leadership is defined broadly as influence processes 
affecting the interpretation of events for followers, the 
choice of objectives for the group or organization, the 
organization of work activities to accomplish the 
objectives, the motivation of followers to achieve the 
objectives, the maintenance of cooperative relationships 
and teamwork, and the enlistment of support and 


cooperation from people outside the group or 
organization (Yukl, 1994 p. 5). 


It is important to review briefly literature on the effectiveness 
of organizational leaders for several reasons. The position of leader 
is, perhaps, the most visible in an organization. Rightfully or not, the 
leader is held ultimately accountable for the success of the 
organization. The effectiveness of the leader is often measured by 
the success of the organization. The managers and leaders 
interviewed for this dissertation, likewise, may measure themselves 
or their leader by how they each perceive success of the change 

The effectiveness of the leader may be perceived in other 
ways. "The most commonly used measure of leader effectiveness is 
the extent to which the leader's organizational unit performs its task 
successfully and attains its goals" (Yukl, 1994 p. 5). This often 
means, the extent to which the projected revenues, profit margins, 
market share, and return on investment been realized. These goals 
are often considered objective measures of performance by Fortune, 
Baron's, The Wall Street Journal, and other publications. 

Leaders may be perceived as effective in other ways. One way 
is the attitudes of organizational members toward the leader. These 
attitudes include followers perceiving the leader as meeting their 
needs and expectations, admiration for the leader, and the strength 
of commitment in following the leader. For example, when attitudes 
are poor, employees may have high absenteeism, make more 

grievances, seek out other companies, use sabotage, and other 

devious mechanisms (Bass, 1985; Bass & Avolio, 1990a; Burns, 1978; 

Heller & Yukl, 1969; Tannenbaum & Schmidt, 1958; Vroom & Yetton, 


Another way leaders may be perceived as effective are the 
contributions they make to member cohesiveness and group process. 
Do members perceive the leader as helping them to work together, 
solve problems, make decisions, or reduce conflict (Katz & Kahn, 
1952; Katz, Maccoby, Gurin & Floor, 1951)? 

The difficulty in determining the leader's effectiveness may 
relate to which measure is seen as being the most relevant. This is 
dependent upon who is viewing the leader. 

Another problem with examining leader's effectiveness, is that 
oftentimes, it is difficult to determine the effects of a leader's 
decisions and actions. Leaders take numerous actions. Some of these 
directly and immediately impact the organization, while others may 
indirectly impact the organization in the long term (Lord & Maher, 
1991). Examples of direct effects on organizational success include, 
sales training, introduction of incentive programs, restructuring how 
work is done, and providing needed resources. The effects of these 
actions are felt immediately. Examples of indirect effects that impact 
organizational success include implementing total quality 
management, changing market strategy, focusing on team work and 
cooperation, and establishing new information systems. These 
actions take longer for their effects to become evident (Senge, 1990a; 
Senge, 1990b). 

Researchers have also studied a leader's actions in terms of 

both short term and long term effects, and these effects may be 

strikingly different (Kanter, Stein & Jick, 1992; Senge, 1990b). For 

example, short term profits may be realized through cost savings 

measures such as cutting research and development, laying off 

workers, and decreasing advertising. However, these cost cutting 

measures may result in disastrous long term results including the 

inability to maintain product superiority, maintain or gain in market 

share, or retain highly qualified workers. 

To summarize, a survey of the literature concerning leader 

effectiveness describes the variables that must be considered in 

determining leader effectiveness 



The following review of theoretical literature on leadership 
demonstrates the variety of ways leadership is perceived. This 
review divides the literature on leadership into four primary 
categories of research: (1) situational leadership, (2) leadership 
behavior, (3) leadership traits and skills, and (4) power and influence 
in leaders. Other literature on the aspects of leadership that do not 
fall within the above categories, will also be described, including 
charismatic, participative, and transformational leadership. 

Some of the research findings in this review of literature on 
leadership may seem obvious and trivial. This may seem 
particularly so when reviewing the early research of the 1950s and 
1960s. However, we need to take note of the context in which these 

researchers were working. Little research on this subject has taken 

place prior to the 1950s and little was known about management 
and leadership except for the work of Frederick Winslow Taylor who 
wrote the Principles of Scientific Management (Taylor, 1947). In his 
theory of scientific management, Taylor states his belief that workers 
need to be controlled in all aspects of the work environment. Taylor 
believes that workers needed to be told exactly "what to do, how to 
do it, and when it must be done" (Weisbord, 1987). He has little faith 
in either workers' intelligence or reasoning ability. Taylor's concepts 
have had a profound impact on management of that day. It is in this 
context of near absolute management control over unintelligent 
workers that the early research was undertaken. For this reason, 
early researchers in the 1950s were actually conducting ground- 
breaking work in viewing leadership as a reciprocal process with 

( 1 ) Situational and Contingencv Theories of Leadership 
Situational leadership refers to determining how the effects of 
leader's actions vary depending upon particular situations. In other 
words, according to some researchers, we need to pay attention to 
the specific situation that a leader is in to determine whether or not 
his/her traits or behaviors will be effective (Fiedler, 1967; Fiedler, 
1964). Since this approach suggests that certain aspects of the 
situation enhance or nullify the effects of a leader's traits or 
behavior, these theories are often termed "contingency theories" 
Factors that make traits or behaviors more or less effective are called 
"situational moderator variables" (Yukl, 1994). 


(a) Path-Goal Theory 

A situational or contingency theory is "Path-Goal" theory. Its 
premise is that a leader is effective when he or she takes actions 
that result in subordinates being satisfied with their work situation 
and motivated to work hard. To accomplish this, leaders take actions 
that (1) provide rewards for successful completion of goals, and (2) 
clear the path of roadblocks and pitfalls for employees and (3) are 
explicit about what is expected in the way of performance (House, 
1971). House and Dessler state that "... leader behavior will be 
viewed as acceptable to subordinates to the extent that the 
subordinates see such behavior as either an immediate source of 
satisfaction or as instrumental to future satisfaction" (House & 
Dessler, 1974 p. 13). These researchers point out that employee 
satisfaction can not be equated with the effort subordinates put into 
their work. 

According to Path-Goal theory, in order to understand how 
leader behavior or actions affect subordinate satisfaction and effort, 
we must look at its intervening variables. These variables come 
from a motivation theory called "Expectancy" theory (Vroom, 1964). 
Briefly stated, employee work motivation is determined by a rational 
choice process whereby the employee decides how much effort to 
expend according to the likelihood of success and the value of 
expected rewards or outcomes, while, at the same time, avoiding 
undesirable outcomes. The primary impact of the leader is in 
modifying these perceptions and beliefs. 

The challenge for leaders according to Path-Goal theorists, is 
determining what are the roadblocks and pitfalls that can block 

employee motivation and satisfaction, since they differ depending 

upon the situation, the characteristics of the employees, and what 

rewards are meaningful to each. (Evans, 1974; Fulk & Wendler, 1982; 

House & Dessler, 1974). Depending upon the above variables, leaders 

would need to exhibit certain kinds of behaviors. Mitchell describes 

four behaviors for leaders: (1) supportive, where the leader 

considers the needs of the subordinate and concern for his/her 

welfare, (2) directive, where the leader makes clear what is expected 

of subordinates and provides them with guidance, (3) participative, 

where the leader asks for and takes into account subordinates 

opinions, and (4) achievement-oriented, where the leader sets 

challenging goals and asks for higher performance (Mitchell, 1974). 

(b) Leadership Substitutes Theory 

Kerr and Jermier propose that in certain situations, leadership 
was superfluous or even unnecessary or redundant (Kerr & Jermier, 
1978). Their theory argue that some situations act as substitutes or 
neutralizers for a leader. Situations that act as neutralizers nullifying 
the effects of a leader's behavior include, for example, not having the 
authority to reward employees. Substitutes for leadership are those 
situations which make a leader unnecessary, such as situations 
where the subordinates clearly understand their roles and know how 
the work is to be done. Three categories of neutralizers and 
substitutes are: subordinate characteristics, task characteristics, and 
group and organization characteristics (Kerr & Jermier, 1978; Yukl, 
1994). Subordinate characteristics include: (1) experience, ability, 
and training. (2) "professional" orientation, and (3) indifference 

toward organizational rewards. Task characteristics include: ( 1 ) a 

structured, routine, unambiguous tasl^; (2) feedback provided by the 

task, and (3) an intrinsically satisfying task. Organizational 

characteristics include: (1) a cohesive work group, (2) low position 

power, (3) explicit plans, goals, areas of responsibility, (4) rigid, 

unyielding rules and procedures, and (5) a leader located away from 

the organization with limited communication possible (Kerr and 

Jermier, 1978). 

(c) Multiple Linkage Model 

The Multiple Linkage Model developed by Yukl builds upon 
previous contingency theories presented above (Yukl, 1971; Yukl, 
1981; Yukl, 1989). This model focuses on "...the interacting effects of 
managerial behavior and situational variables on the performance of 
the manager's work unit" (Yukl, 1994 p. 294). In other words, Yukl 
believes that characteristics of a leader's behavior in combination 
with the situation determine whether a leader is effective. He 
defines effectiveness in terms of productivity and profits of a 
leader's organization. Variables play an important part in the 
Multiple Linkage Model and managerial behavior and situational 
variables are two of four that Yukl describes. The others are: 
intervening and criterion variables. According to Yukl, the leader 
may, no matter how good he or she is, be limited in what he or she 
can do. An example is situational variables such as government 
regulations or union-management contracts, "neutralizing" his/her 
discretion in making necessary changes or reacting to problems. 
Even if there are a minimum of "neutralizers," the Multiple Linkage 


Model states that the leader's effectiveness is also dependent upon 

the characteristics of his/her employees and of their work situation. 
In other words, the leader doesn't have a direct impact on the 
organization's productivity and profits, instead, the leader must 
achieve effectiveness through his/her employees and the work 
situation by making employees and the work situation conducive to 
being productive (Yukl, 1994). An example of this would be that the 
leader may need to increase the level of ability and motivation of 
employees through training and education, or the resources and 
support services available to complete required work. Yukl 
describes a number of these "intervening" variables, including 
employee motivation, subordinates' need of skills and abilities, 
organization of work to assure efficiency, group member cooperation 
to work well together, and adequate resources and support. Finally, 
the leader must consider all these "intervening" variables and decide 
whether they have an effect on his/her own effectiveness in the 
situation in which he or she is currently. 

Yukl provides two general propositions that guide leaders in 
making decisions about their actions: ( 1 ) "In the short term, unit 
effectiveness is greater when the leader acts to correct any 
deficiencies in the intervening variables, and (2) "In the longer term, 
unit effectiveness is greater when the leader acts to make the 
situation more favorable" (Yukl, 1994 p. 300-301). 

(d) LPC Contingency Model 

Fielder developed his LPC Contingency Model (which stands for 
"least preferred coworker score"), to describe how the situation 


moderates the relationship between leader traits and effectiveness 

(Fiedler, 1967; Fiedler, 1964). The LPC score measures a trait that 
predicts leadership effectiveness, according to Fielder. Fielder states 
that the High LPC leader is primarily motivated in having close, 
interpersonal relationships with other people, including subordinates. 
The leader with a High LPC will act in a considerate, supportive 
manner if it is called for. Achievement of task objectives is a 
secondary motive. The leader with a Low LPC score is primarily 
focused on task objectives, and will emphasize these objectives when 
there are task related problems. Only secondarily is this leader 
concerned with good relations. Fiedler suggests that "favorability" of 
the situation within which a leader finds him or herself will 
determine whether the High LPC leader will be more or less effective 
than the Low LPC leader. 

(2) Leadership Behavior 
The review of literature on leadership behavior centers on 
observable behaviors that differentiate effective from ineffective 
leadership. The skills and traits behind these behaviors are not 
considered to be important. Managerial work and leadership 
behaviors are not consistently clearly differentiated; however, 
behaviors that people in these positions exhibit have been placed in 
four categories: decision making, influencing, exchanging 
information, and building relationships. The importance of different 
behaviors within each of these categories may vary depending upon 
the manager's level in the organization, the manager's function, size 
of the unit led by the manager, the extent to which the leader's 


subunit is interdependent with other people or groups, whether 

there is a crisis, and the stage in the organization's Ufe cycle (Yukl, 

Research on effective leader behavior, uses questionnaires, 
laboratory experiments, field experiments, and critical incidents to 
discover how effective leaders differ in behavior from ineffective 
ones. The literature review shows three groups of studies on 
effective leader behavior. 

Ohio State University leadership studies involve extensive 
administration of questionnaires that determined, through factor 
analysis, two dimensions of supervisor behavior, i These dimensions 
or behavior content categories are labeled "consideration" and 
"initiating structure" (Fleishman, 1953; Halpin & Winer, 1957; 
Hemphill & Coons, 1957b). "Consideration" refers to the degree to 
which a leader acts in a friendly and supportive manner, shows 
concern for subordinates, and looks out for their welfare. "Initiating 
structure" refers to the degree to which a leader defines and 
structures his/her own role and the roles of the subordinates toward 
achieving the group's goals. Research indicates that these two 
categories are relatively independent. Findings from this work 
indicate that subordinates are happier if their leader is at least 
moderately considerate, but inconclusive, as pertaining to the value 
of "initiating structure" (Yukl, 1994). 

Behavioral research using experiments, is another approach to 
the study of leadership behavior in reviewing the literature. 

Ipor the purposes of this review, supervisors, managers, and leaders have 
been used interchangably. 


Behavioral research experiments were conducted to answer the 

question of causality that the correlation work at Ohio State 
University could not. The literature on behavioral research using 
experiments, centers on that conducted in laboratories using 
university students (Day, 1971; Day & Hamblin, 1964; Farris & Jr., 
1969; Lowin & Craig, 1968; Sims & Manz, 1984). "This research 
demonstrated that causality operates in both directions, from 
behavior to outcomes, and vice versa" (Yukl, 1994 p. 58). As with 
the results of previous Ohio State studies, the findings of the 
behavioral research suggest that "consideration" behavior, leads to 
increased satisfaction and productivity and were inconclusive for the 
"initiating structure" variable (Yukl, 1994). 

The Michigan Leadership studies were carried out by 
researchers at the University of Michigan (Katz & Kahn, 1952; Katz et 
al., 1951; Katz, Maccoby & Morse, 1950). The Michigan research 
focuses on identifying relationships among leader behavior, group 
processes, and measures of group performance. Field research was 
conducted on a variety of leaders and managers in an insurance 
company using questionnaires and interviews. The research finds 
that three types of leadership behavior differentiates between 
effective and ineffective managers: task-oriented behavior, 
relationship-oriented behavior, and participative leadership. 
Findings conclude, that effective managers concentrate on the 
following task-oriented behaviors: planning, scheduling work, 
coordinating subordinates' activities, and providing organizational 
support. Effective managers also are more considerate, supportive, 
and helpful with subordinates than ineffective leaders; that is, they 

concentrate on relationship behaviors. In addition, effective leaders 

also involve subordinates in decision-making (Likert, 1961; Likert, 


The studies above suggest that there are certain behaviors that 

"universally" relate to leadership effectiveness regardless of the 

situation. Some theorists believe that the use of participative 

decision procedures are most effective (Argyris, 1964; Likert, 1967; 

McGregor, 1960). Blake and Mouton developed a managerial grid 

that describes managers in terms of concern for people and concern 

for task (Blake & Mouton, 1964). Research in Japan promulgates a 

similar two- factor theory called PM Leadership Theory (Misumi & 

Peterson, 1985). This theory proposes that effective leaders are high 

in both performance behavior and maintenance behavior. These 

studies conclude that the most successful managers are those who 

show a high degree of concern for both people and task in all 

situations (Yukl, 1994). 

(3) Leadership Traits and Skills 
Studies on leadership traits and skills propose that some people 
have innate and/or learned characteristics that: ( 1 ) make them more 
likely to attain or seek leadership positions and (2) increase the 
chance that they will be effective leaders. Numerous studies on this 
subject have been conducted, though few if any of them identify a 
particular set of traits or skills that predict leadership advancement 
or effectiveness (Yukl, 1994). The following literature review 
describes some of these research efforts. 


McClelland conducted research on managerial motivation. 

McClelland and his associates identify three such motives: the needs 
for achievement, power, and affiliation (McClelland, 1965; 
McClelland, 1985). The implications of this research are that 
managers are more likely to be effective, if they have strong 
socialized nPower (need for power), a moderate level of 
nAchievement, and a lower nAffiliation. When managers vary from 
this trait pattern, it may result in their failure. However, the 
specific situation determines the actual optimization of these three 

Miner's theory of managerial role motivation includes 
motivational traits for management success in large corporations 
(Miner, 1965). Traits that can be used to predict success include the 
desire to exercise managerial advancement, to use power, and to 
compete with peers, and a positive attitude toward authority. 
Implications of Miner's theory include the need for a manager may 
need to possess these traits in order to advance to high levels in a 
large, hierarchical organization. However, they may not be as 
important to advancement in a smaller, less bureaucratic company. 

Boyatzis conducted research to discover competencies related 
to managerial effectiveness (Boyatzis, 1982). Competencies include 
personality traits, motives, skills, knowledge, and self-image. 
Boyatzis correlates certain traits and skills in these categories with 
effective managers, whereas, correlation's were low for ineffective 

Through longitudinal research with assessment centers, 
researchers have discovered traits related to managerial 


advancement in corporations. These traits include the desire to 

advance, dominance, interpersonal skills, cognitive skills, and 
administrative skills. Assessment centers help management identify 
managerial potential through the use of simulations. Candidates are 
measured by a team of judges and a final score is assigned that 
signifies the candidates' potential for success in a higher level 
position (Bray, Campbell & Grant, 1974; Howard & Bray, 1988). 
These studies find that a person with high levels of the above traits, 
is more likely to advance if he or she is in an organization that 
encourages the development of managerial skills, where challenging 
assignments are given with increasing responsibility, and a leader 
who is a positive role model. 

Studies of successful versus derailed managers were conducted 
by the Center for Creative Leadership (Lombardo & McCauley, 1988; 
McCall & L£»mbardo, 1983a; McCall & Lombardo, 1983b). These 
studies attempt to define traits and behaviors that can be associated 
with success and failure of top level executives. These researchers 
find some similarities between the two groups, which include, 
ambition, strong technical skills, a string of prior successes, and are 
seen as "fast risers." The major traits identified and that distinguish 
the two groups include emotional stabiUty, composure, 
defensiveness, integrity, interpersonal skills, technical and cognitive 
skills. Findings do not reveal a perfect formula for successful 
advancement. Instead, researchers primarily find similarities 
between the successful and derailed managers. Although, some of 
the reasons for derailment are evident, others are less so, but can be 
attributed to bad luck, such as an economic downturn. Also, traits 


and skills that may be at one point a strength or unimportant can 

eventually hurt a manager as he or she advances, thus leading to 

(4) Power and Influence 

This review of literature on leadership considers the work on 
implications of power and influence for the effectiveness of 
individual managers. This research focuses on the question, "Do 
effective leaders have or use different types of power than 
ineffective leaders?" 

The sources of power used in organizations are classified by 
French and Raven (French & Raven, 1959). Their taxonomy consists 
of: reward, coercive power, legitimate power, expert power, and 
referent power. Additional research finds expert and referent power 
is positively correlated with subordinate satisfaction and 
performance, although results for legitimate, reward, and coercive 
power are inconsistent (Hinkin & Schriesheim, 1989; Rahim, 1989; 
Schriesheim, Hinkin & Podsakoff, 1991; Yukl & Falbe, 1991) Findings 
overall indicate that effective leaders use expert and referent power 
to influence subordinates. 

Another approach to conceptualizing power sources is 
examining the dichotomy between "position power" and "personal 
power" (Bass, 1960; Etzioni, 1961). It is generally believed today 
that these studies have questionable findings because of their lack of 
demonstrated validity of the power measures (Podsakoff & 
Schriesheim, 1985). In particular, the extent to which coercion and 
reward affect subordinates is not well understood. It may well be 


that effective leaders use a mixture of different kinds or sources of 

power (Kotter, 1985; Kotter, 1982). 

Two major theories, Social Exchange theory, and Strategic 
Contingencies theory have been proposed that examine how power is 
acquired, maintained, or lost in organizations. 

Social Exchange theory explains the acquisition and loss of 
power through "reciprocal influence processes." In other words, 
acquisition of power is the result of an exchange of benefits or favors 
between people. These benefits may be in the form of material 
things, but also can be expressions of approval, esteem, affection, 
respect, and other psychological favors (Blau, 1974; Hollander, 1958; 
Hollander, 1979; Homans, 1958; Thibaut & Kelley, 1959). 
Expectations of the leadership role to be played by an individual is 
influenced by that member's demonstration of competence and 
loyalty to the group. The degree of influence and status is 
proportional to the extent that group evaluates the contributions of 
the individual, as compared to other group members. As the 
person's expertise and trust is confirmed, members are more willing 
to suspend judgment and take up a follower role. In this manner, 
the leader gains support for innovation. 

According to these researchers, the opposite is also true; that is, 
if the leader's proposals fail, the group will reassess the leader's 
contributions, and then are less likely to follow. When the leader's 
failures are perceived to be a result of incompetence or poor 
judgment, the members' negative view of the leader is stronger, 
rather than when failure is seen as being due to outside forces. 
"Success resulting from innovation leads to greater credit, but failure 

leads to greater blame" (Yukl, 1994 p. 210). The leader is looked to 

by the group to propose new ways of dealing with problems and 

issues, in other words, he or she is expected to innovate. A leader 

who fails to show initiative actions will lose esteem and influence 

(Hollander, 1979). In this research, the leader's role in organizational 

change is becoming more pivotal. 

The Social Exchange theory also considers the leader's 
positional situation. Leaders of corporations, as well as leaders of 
small groups, gain influence and status the same way, that is, by 
demonstrating expertise and loyalty. However, leaders who have 
been appointed by superiors are less subject to subordinates' views 
of their competence, and therefore, less subject to their evaluation in 
order to retain their power (Evans & Zelditch, 1961). The Social 
Exchange theory has been tested in laboratory experiments on small 
groups, but longitudinal research to verify application to large groups 
and organizations has not taken place (Hollander, 1979). 

Strategic Contingencies theory deals with how subunits rather 
than how individuals of an organization gain power. However, a 
member of a powerful subunit is more likely to become a leader than 
members of less powerful and influential subunits (Hickson, Hinings, 
Lee, Schneck & Pennings, 1971). According to these theorists, the 
power of a subunit depends upon the unit's expertise in coping with 
important and critical problems, and the uniqueness of that expertise 
being located in a central position within the workflow. 

In addition to the above four categories of leadership theory, 
there are three other perspectives on leadership in the literature. 
The following section reviews that literature. 

Charismatic Leadership 

Charismatic leadership has only recently been researched in 
organizations. Weber refers to charisma as occurring when social 
crisis takes place and a leader with exceptional characteristics comes 
forth with a radical vision to resolve the crisis (Weber, 1947). 
Followers perceive the a leader as charismatic if he/she has 
extraordinary traits. In years following Weber's work, a major 
controversy has taken place over what constitutes charisma. 
Numerous researchers have attempted to determine if charisma is a 
result of leader attributes, situational conditions, or the interaction 
between leader and followers (Berger, 1963; Bromley & Shupe, 1979; 
Cohen, 1972) (Dow, 1969; Friedrich, 1961; Kanter, 1968; Shils, 1965). 
More recently, researchers have begun to agree that the 
phenomenon of charismatic leadership is the result of a complex 
interaction between leader qualities and behaviors, and follower 
perceptions and attributions in specific leadership situations (Bass, 
1985; Conger & Kanungo, 1987). 

Another review of the literature on this subject also shows 
theories of charismatic leadership based on leader traits, leader 
behaviors, and facilitating conditions (House, 1977). According to 
House, a charismatic leader's impact or effect on followers is both 
profound and unusual (House, 1977). House found that followers 
perceive the leader's beliefs to be correct. Followers feel an affection 
for the leader and they believe emotionally in the mission of the 
organization. In addition, according to House, followers feel they can 
positively contribute to the success of this mission and have high 
performance standards. 

Smith's empirical studies show that followers of charismatic 

leaders are self-assured and fmd the work of the organization as 

more meaningful (Smith, 1982). However, these followers did not 

give unquestioning obedience and loyalty to the leader. 

Other researchers have created questionnaires that attempt to 
measure charismatic and transformational leadership behaviors 
(Podsakoff, MacKenzie, Morrman & Fetter, 1990). According to these 
researchers, results indicate that subordinates fmd leaders who 
articulate vision, model desirable behaviors, and communicate high 
performance expectations, have greater trust and loyalty toward 
their manager. Such subordinates also work harder, take 
responsibility for preventing problems, and complain less about their 
work conditions. 

To test House's theory of three charismatic behaviors 
mentioned above, Howell and Higgins have conducted research 
comparing project champions with executives not identified as such 
(Howell & Higgins, 1990). They fmd that successful project 
champions exhibit greater use of these three charismatic behaviors 
than do the other executives. 

Howell and Frost conducted laboratory experiments on college 
students to test charismatic leaders' patterns of behavior, comparing 
their styles with other leadership styles (Howell & Frost, 1989). 
Groups whose leaders exhibit, according to Howell and Frost, 
charismatic behavior patterns, such as explaining the importance of 
the work, communicating high performance expectations, showing 
empathy with subordinate needs, and acting confidently, have higher 
performance and greater satisfaction with the work, while exhibiting 

less conflict than directive or considerate leadership behavior 

pattern led groups. 

A study of leadership in United States presidents is mostly 

consistent with charismatic leadership theory (House, Spangler & 

Woycke, 1991). They find that presidents with a socialized power 

orientation show more typical charismatic leadership behaviors than 

presidents who do not exhibit these leadership behaviors. These 

presidents are more likely to be viewed as charismatic. In addition, 

they rated higher in performance in economic and social categories. 

Attribution Theory of Charisma 

Conger and Kanungo propose an attribution theory of 
charismatic leadership (Conger, 1989; Conger & Kanungo, 1987). 
According to this theory, followers attribute charisma phenomena to 
certain leaders. Attribution depends upon specific behavior patterns 
perceived in the leader. These researchers state that not all 
charismatic leaders have the same behaviors patterns, nor to an 
equal extent. Conger and Kanungo believe that followers will 
attribute charisma to leaders who exhibit the following behavior 
patterns: advocating a vision that is a sharp break from the status 
quo; acting in unconventional ways to achieve their vision; making 
self-sacrifices by taking personal risk or paying high costs; appear 
confident and enthusiastic about their proposals; using personal 
power; and use persuasive appeals to obtain commitment (Conger, 

According to Conger, charismatic leaders are able to influence 
their followers through the process of personal identification. This 

refers to the desire of followers to please and imitate the leader that 

they admire (Conger, 1989). Personal identification also involves, 

according to this theory, the followers perceiving a measure of their 

self-worth by the leader's approval of their behavior. 

The process of internalization of the leader's values, attitudes, 

and beliefs, by his/her followers, is another means by which the 

charismatic leader influences others (Conger, 1989). A well 

communicated vision, that is relevant to followers' needs and 

aspirations, can cause the internalization process and thereby be the 

motivational source for followers' actions. 

Self-Concept Theory of Charismatic Leadership 

Continuing with the question of how charismatic leaders so 
strongly influence or have power over their followers, some 
researchers have studied why followers of a charismatic religious 
leader are willing to give all their possessions away or why followers 
of a charismatic political leader are willing to sacrifice their lives for 
his/her cause (Shamir, House & Arthur, 1993). According to some 
research on motivation, self-esteem seems to play an important role, 
since people are motivated to enhance and defend their self-esteem 
and self-worth (Shamir, 1991b). Charismatic leaders, use this 
natural human motivation, through appropriate communication 
processes, to enhance follower self-esteem, self-worth, and self- 
efficacy. Through the use of symbols, slogans, and stories about past 
events, charismatic leaders promote social identification and a 
collective identity among their followers. They use themselves as 
role models for followers to emulate. 

According to Shamir, the motivational effects of a charismatic 

leader are more likely to occur when the leader's vision is congruent 

with the followers' values and when the organization's mission can 

be linked to these values. Although the charismatic leader has 

greater influence when a crisis situation exists, Shamir states, it is 

not a necessary component for a charismatic leader to emerge 

(Shamir et al., 1993). 

Charisma as Social Contagion 

A different approach to the study of charismatic leaders is to 
examine the portion of followers who never come into direct contact 
with the leader, yet are strongly influenced by him/her. Meindl 
describes charisma as follower centered, not leader centered (Meindl, 
1990). According to this theory, follower response is a result of a 
social influence process among followers. Specifically, this process 
has been termed "social contagion." This refers to a "spontaneous 
spread of emotional and behavioral reactions among a group of 
people"(Yukl, 1994 p. 329). Again, according to Meindl, many people 
hold a heroic social identity in their self-concept. They want to see 
themselves as part of a rightious cause, for which they are willing to 
make self-sacrifices. However, usually this social identity is 
submerged by other social identities, until a cause emerges that they 
can identify with. This theory states that it is not important who 
becomes the leader of the new cause, "as long as it is someone who is 
sufficiently attractive and exceptional to qualify for the role" (Yukl, 
1994 p. 330). 

Participative Leadership 

Participative leadership involves various ways in which a 
leader or manager actively seeks the involvement of subordinates in 
problem solving and making decisions in the organization. Theorists 
have proposed various means that leaders employ to gain 
participation (Heller & Yukl, 1969; Strauss, 1977; Tannenbaum & 
Schmidt, 1958; Vroom & Yetton, 1973). However, there is probably 
general agreement on the following categories that run on a 
continuum from no influence by others to a high degree of influence: 
autocratic decision, consultation, joint decision, and delegation (Yukl, 

Research on participative management and leadership has 
largely been inconclusive due to the methods utilized and the 
difficulty in verifying data (Yukl, 1994). In most studies, the criteria 
for leader effectiveness was usually subordinate satisfaction and 
performance. However, three elements have been recognized in 
choosing the appropriate decision making procedures: forces in the 
leader, forces in subordinate, and forces in the situation 
(Tannenbaum & Schmidt, 1958). 

Vroom and Yetton Normative Decision Model 

Vroom and Yetton further specify which decision making 
procedures will be most effective (Vroom & Yetton, 1973). Overall 
effectiveness, they state, is dependent upon two intervening 
variables: decision quality and decision acceptance. These 
intervening variables are affected, in turn, by the decision 
procedures used by a leader. Decision acceptance refers to the 

degree of subordinate commitment to the decision, and decision 

quality refers to the choice of the best alternative being selected. 

Vroom and Yetton identify five decision procedures for 

decisions involving multiple subordinates: two varieties of autocratic 

decision, two varieties of consultation, and one variety of joint 

decision making by leader and subordinates (Yukl, 1994). According 

to the normative decision model, effectiveness of a decision 

procedure depends on seven aspects of the situation: 

(1) the leader's possession of relevant information, (2) 

the likelihood that subordinates will accept an autocratic 

decision, (3) compatibility of leader and subordinate 

objectives, (4) importance of decision quality, (5) 

importance of decision acceptance, (6) amount of 

disagreement among subordinates with respect to their 

preferred alternatives, and (7) extent to which the 

decision problem is unstructured (Yukl, 1994 p. 164). 

This model presents a set of rules that helps leaders identify 

inappropriate decision procedures. 

Transformational Leadership 
An early theorist on transformational leadership is James 
McGregor Burns (Burns, 1978). According to Burns, transformational 
leadership is a process in which "leaders and followers raise one 
another to higher levels of morality and motivation" (Burns, 1978 p. 
20). In other words, the transformational leader activates or triggers 
higher-order needs and self-actualization motives (Maslow, 1954). 
These leaders lift us to higher ideals, moral values, and self- 

improvement. Burns believes that anyone in an organization, in any 

position, can be a transformational leader through the process of 

influencing peers, subordinates, and superiors. 

Burns distinguishes between transformational and 
transactional leadership. While transforming leaders seek to elevate 
followers to better themselves, transactional leaders motivate 
followers by appealing to their self-interest. The transactional leader 
conducts exchanges with his/her followers. According to Burns, 
transactional leaders exchange salary, benefits, and/or status for 
follower work effort. Values that are involved in this exchange 
process are based on such attributes as fairness, honesty, and 

On the other hand. Burns views transformational leadership as 
a process, "a stream of evolving interrelationships in which leaders 
are continuously evoking motivational responses from followers and 
modifying their behavior as they meet responsiveness or resistance, 
in a ceaseless process of flow and counter flow" (Burns, 1978 p. 440). 
In other words, transformational leaders exist in an ongoing 
relationship with their followers, trying different behaviors and 
determining the appropriate response, in an ever changing attempt 
at motivation. 

Another theory, which is built upon Burns' work, proposes that 
the transformational leader should be measured by the effects on 
followers (Bass, 1985), Followers of transformational leaders feel 
trust, admiration, loyalty, and respect for the leader. The 
transformational leader gains followers and motivates them by: 


• making them more aware of the importance of their tasks 

and accomplishing their outcomes 

• subordinating their self-interests for the good of the 
organization and 

• activating their higher-order needs. 

According to this theory, there are four basic components of 
transformational leadership: charisma, intellectual stimulation, 
individualized consideration, and inspirational motivation (Bass, 
1985; Bass & Avolio, 1990a). According to Bass, charisma refers to 
the process of arousing strong emotions on the part of the followers 
and identification with the leader. Intellectual stimulation is the 
process where leaders create the awareness of problems and 
influence followers to perceive these problems in a new way. 
Individualized consideration is the process where leaders provide 
support and encouragement to followers. Inspirational motivation is 
defined as creating the appealing vision and focusing followers on 
the effort through the use of symbols and stories. It also refers to 
the leader modeling appropriate behavior (Bass & Avolio, 1990a). 

Bass views transactional leadership as does Burns, that is, an 
exchange of rewards for compliance. Bass' definition, however, is 
broader and includes behavioral components of contingent reward, 
active management, and passive management by exception. 
Contingent reward refers to a clarification of required work to obtain 
rewards and the use of incentives and contingent rewards to 
influence motivation. Active management by exception includes the 
monitoring of subordinates' work and taking corrective action when 
work is not done properly. Passive management by exception refers 


to corrective actions and punishments for deviations from acceptable 

performance standards. Bass views Goal-Path leadership theory as 

an example of transactional leadership. In addition, Bass believes 

that transformational and transactional leadership are not mutually 

exclusive and that any leader may use both, depending upon the 


Bass differentiates between transformational and charismatic 
leadership. Bass states that "Charisma is a necessary ingredient of 
transformational leadership, but by itself it is not sufficient to 
account for the transformational process" (Bass, 1985 p. 31). In 
other words, according to Bass, a person can be a charismatic leader 
without influencing people to transform their self interest for a 
cause. The major difference in the approach between the two kinds 
of leaders is that transformational leaders, while inspiring strong 
emotions and identification with the leader, seek to empower and 
elevate followers. In addition, transformational leaders are also, 
teachers, mentors, and coaches to their followers. According to Bass, 
leaders who are only charismatic seek the opposite, that is, to 
weaken followers and make them dependent upon the themselves, 
while instilling in them personal loyalty. 

Bass defines charismatic differently than other leadership 
theorists discussed such as House and Conger and Kanungo. 
Charismatic leaders, according to Bass, believe that they possess a 
supernatural purpose and destiny. Followers may worship the 
leader and idolize him/her as a superhuman hero or spiritual figure. 
By viewing leaders in this way, followers tend to project certain 
characteristics as part of psychodynamic mechanisms that leaders 


can trigger. Therefore, such behaviors as projection, repression, and 
regression can be the result for individual followers. These 
behaviors can then be magnified by group processes (Yukl, 1994). 
Bass further explains the polarized responses of strong love or hate 
emotions that such leaders elicit as the reason that charismatic 
political leaders become targets of assassination. Unlike 
transformational leaders who can be found at any level or position in 
an organization charismatic leaders are rare according to Bass. They 
emerge most often when the organization is in crisis and formal 
authority has been unable to deal effectively with the situation. 



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According to a review of the literature, mental models are a 
recent concept for examining how individuals and groups view the 
world around them and the ways these views impact their actions 
and behaviors in organizations. The importance of the concept of 
mental models, according to Senge, is that the way we see the nature 
of our world determines our responses to that world (Senge, 1993). 
Actions we take are in response to our internal "pictures" of how the 
world works. Therefore, mental models both assist and hinder us. 
Mental models assist us through the process of generalization, so that 
every situation we encounter is not experienced as being distinct and 
novel. However, mental models hinder us through the same process 
of generalization by lumping situations we encounter into predefined 
experiences and thus Umiting the novelty and thus, the flexibility, of 
our responses. 

Description of Mental Models 
Although researchers have occasionally used different terms, 
there seems to be agreement in the literature on the concept of 
mental models and how they are described. A sampling of 
researchers' descriptions of mental models from the literature 

Senge describes mental models as "... deeply held internal 
images of how the world works, images that limit us to familiar ways 
of thinking and acting" (Senge, 1990a p. 174). Bartlett describes a 

• 124 

mental structure called "schmata" which he defines as "... an active 
organization of past reactions, or of past experiences, which must 
always be supposed to be operating in any well-adapted organic 
response" (Bartlett, 1932 p.201). In examining the term mental 
models, Brewer concludes that the term could refer to "all forms of 
mental representation, general or specific, from any domain, causal, 
intentional or spatial" (Brewer, 1987 p. 193). In further describing 
mental models, they have also been referred to as "... rules and 
regulations, habits, managerial frames, assumptions, mind-sets, 
paradigms, conventional wisdom, industry recipes, customs, 
institutional memory, and so on" (SMR, 1997 p.l3). 

The following section reviews the literature on the 
development of the concept of mental models. 

Development of the Concept of Mental Models 
The term "mental model" has been used, at least since the 
1930s, by cognitive theorists in their explanations of human learning. 
According to some of these theorists, the human mind engages in a 
mediating process between stimuli and human responses (Lovell, 
1980). In other words, behavior does not result directly from a 
stimulus; instead, it is the result of a mediating process. This 
mediating process is part of our experience and active cognition 
(Lovell, 1980). Using a term equivalent to "mental models," 
"schmata," Bartlett states, develop from our life experiences and 
grow and change throughout our lives (Bartlett, 1932). Another 
cognitive theorist, Craik, explains that the mind functions through 
mental models (Craik, 1943). Craik believes that reasoning is 

' 125 

accomplished through the use of mental models that imitate or 
represent real life relationships and processes. Tolman refers to the 
term "cognitive maps" to describe the process humans use in learning 
(Tolman, 1948). According to, Tolman we build representations of 
the environment and then refer to these before we commit to taking 
actions. The term "mental model" has gained acceptance in 
management literature (DeGeus, 1988; Porac, Thomas & Baden- 
Fuller, 1989; Senge, 1990b). 

Piere Wack was one who early on understood the power of 
mental models and developed their use. Wack was not an academic 
researcher when he joined Royal Dutch/Shell to work on future 
scenarios for their Group Planning organization in 1971. He created 
scenarios that challenged management's then current mental models 
"... so that managers would question their own model of reality and 
change it when necessary" (Senge, 1990a p. 179). 

Other researchers, including Bartlett (1932), Schank (1982), 
Lakoff (1987), and Johnson- Laird (1989), describe how people 
represent knowledge about their external environment through the 
use of mental models, which are also referred to as "cognitive 

Physiological research supports the concept that our 
understanding of the external world is a result of our interpretation 
of data, rather than being a matter of responding to factual 
phenomena. This research applies to the concept of mental models. 
One example of this interpretation of data includes research cited by 
Sacks as well as Cheselden, Gregory and Wallace, Hebb, Hine, and von 
Senden (Sacks, 1995). According to these researchers, the human 

♦ 126 

brain has a center that receives stimuli from the optic nerves and 
translates these data into what is commonly referred to as sight 
(Sacks, 1995). In other words, sight is an interpretation of data that 
our eyes perceive. To further demonstrate this concept, sometimes 
the brain center doesn't interpret data very well. According to Sacks, 
the center for interpreting optic input (stimuli) in the brain needs to 
learn how to make meaning out of the data it receives. This ability is 
accomplished early in a child's developing brain. i Sacks states that 
the brain may "unlearn" its ability to interpret data when sight is 
lost. Sacks writes of his work with a patient named Virgil who lost 
his sight at age six and got it back forty years later. Virgil had great 
difficulty in seeing normally when his sight returned. His brain did 
not interpret data well; in particular, it was unable to perceive the 
wholeness of objects. For example, he could make out paws, tail, and 
nose as part of a dog or cat, but could not put the pieces together to 
distinguish a dog from a cat, or what a whole dog or cat looked like 
(Sacks, 1995, 108-152). 

Sacks' research seems to indicate that what we as individuals 
see in the external world, at least in part, occurs through a learning 
process. In other words, we learn to see; we learn to distinguish 
objects from the background; we learn to distinguish size and shape; 
and we learn to see space and distance in relation to ourselves 
(Sacks, 1995). Therefore, we can deduce that aspects of our mental 
models are learned over time and built through our experiences and 

ISacks doesn't indicate the time period nor how long this development takes. 

• 127 

The following is a literature review that describes the role of 
mental models in organizational change. 

The Role of Mental Models in Organizational Change 

"Given human frailties as information processors, 
mental models allow individuals and organizations to 
make sense of their environment and act within it. The 
problem, of course, is that mental models may be, or 
become, inaccurate" (Barr, Stimpert & Huff, 1992b). 

In other words, mental models determine how stimuli will be 
interpreted and used by individuals and organizations. Since 
humans are selective in what stimuli is received, mental models even 
determine what we notice (Sacks, 1995). Rumelhart states mental 
models "... facilitate learning by allowing humans to fill gaps in both 
information and memory, and to construct updated models of reality 
(Rumelhart, 1990). Thus, mental models are vital to us for 
information processing by constructing models of how we see the 
world instead of requiring us to build new models for each new 
situation we encounter. "Mental models are considered 
indispensable to information processing because they organize 
knowledge in simple, robust and parsimonious ways, in a world 
awash with information of staggering complexity" (Vandenbosch & 
Higgins, 1995). 

The down side of mental models, according to Senge, is that 
they often result in blocking learning and transformational change 

• 128 

(Senge, 1990a). This occurs when mental models become rigid and 

The concept of mental models also applies to organizations; 
however, in this case, it is the mental models of interacting 
individuals that are being examined. Organizations confront the 
same problems as individuals when they take their mental models 
for granted and don't challenge their assumptions and 
generalizations. When an organization falls victim to rigid mental 
models, it loses its creativity and ability to grow. While mental 
models cannot be continually questioned without stopping all 
activity, it is crucial that they be made explicit and that opportunities 
are provided for sharing and examining them. According to Argyris 
and Schon, individuals and organizations may go through processes 
of single loop and double loop learning. Single loop involves error 
correction rather than challenging the existing "...framework of 
norms for performance" (Argyris & Schon, 1978 p. 21). It is only 
double loop learning that uses the processes of inquiry and reflection 
that results in organizational learning. 

According to the literature, the concept of mental models seems 
to be extremely important to understand for organizations to have 
the capacity to implement transformational change (Argyris, Putnam 
& Smith, 1985a; Argyris & Schon, 1978; Senge, 1990a). Cases cited 
by Senge indicate that those involved in transforming their 
companies, including Pierre Wack at Royal Dutch/Shell and CEO Bill 
O'Brien at Hanover Insurance, demonstrate that transformational 
change would not have been successful without having been able to 
"surface and discuss productively their different ways of looking at 

• 129 

the world" (Senge, 1990a p. 182). A longitudinal study by Barr, 
Stimpert, and Huff on two railroad companies indicates the important 
role of mental models and the ability of company executives to adapt 
and change their models for organizational success (Barr, Stimpert & 
Huff, 1992a). 

An often cited example of the role that mental models play in 
organizational change, is the Swiss watch making industry (Brown, 
1994). Although, the Swiss pioneered the development of the quartz 
crystal watch mechanism, Swiss executives did not see quartz 
movements' impact on watch making. This left the Japanese free to 
exploit the new technology at the expense of the Swiss watch making 

Argyris, through his research, understands how managers' 
mental models, that consist of their deeply held attitudes, beliefs and 
assumptions, cause them to behave in often counter productive ways. 
Argyris posits that we develop "'... defensive routines' that insulate 
our mental models from examination" (Senge, 1990a p. 182). In 
other words, Argyris sees how managers have great difficulty in 
learning from other managers because of "defensive routines" that 
they use to protect their mental models from being challenged. This 
results in behavior that Argyris calls "skilled incompetence" (Argyris, 
1985b; Argyris et al., 1985a). As part of their "defensive routines," 
managers might, for example, discuss with others their ideas and 
thoughts on business strategies while, to protect their mental models, 
refusing to discuss the basis for their opinions. Instead, such 
managers will debate the virtues of their ideas over others and 
stubbornly hold to their positions. This behavior, Argyris terms. 

• 130 

"espoused theory," which refers to those principles and attitudes that 
we say, and may actually think, we believe in. Managers' deeply 
held beliefs, on the other hand, Argyris terms, "theory-in-use" 
(Argyris & Schon, 1978; Argyris et al., 1985a). "Theory-in-use" is 
manifested when stress and crisis occur that cause managers to act 
from their deeply held beliefs. Therefore, mental models consist, in 
part, of "theories-in-use" that we use to understand the world 
around us and "espoused theories" that we use to protect our 
emotional investment in ideas and positions that we hold. 

Individual's mental models are extremely difficult to change 
since people are heavily emotionally invested in them. Argyris says 
that in order to change them, double-loop learning is required. The 
process of conducting double-loop learning is called "theory of action" 
(Argyris & Schon, 1978). Argyris and his associate at MIT, Donald 
Schon, believe that "theory of action" is at the core of organizational 
learning and the ability to transform organizations (Senge, 1990a). It 
is a process of "...becoming increasingly aware of your own stumbling 
blocks and those of others, and continually building the capacity in 
yourself to stop the action..." and ask yourself what are your real 
assumptions and beliefs? "Theory of action," is a process of 
examining our own mental models and the behaviors they cause 
(Chawla & Renesch, 1995). 

Argyris' "theory of action" is one example of using the concept 
of mental models to assist leaders in transforming their 
organizations. Another approach that relies strongly on mental 
models is called "map analysis." This is a process of extracting, 
analyzing, and combining individual mental models into cognitive 

• 131 

maps (Carley, 1997). Individual cognitive maps are then combined 
to produce a team map with information as to the possible 
effectiveness of a team and what it may need to develop greater 

There are many examples in which management's mental 
models have resulted in suboptimal decision making and action. The 
American automobile industry's obsolete view of consumers in the 
late 1960s and early 1970s and its subsequent inability to recognize 
changing needs and wants has had severe consequences for 
American manufacturing and the loss of jobs in that industry 
(Vandenbosch & Higgins, 1995). 

According to the literature, the relationship between flexible 
executive mental models and competitive performance has 
significant implications for executive learning. Superior competitive 
performance is likely dependent upon management's ability to learn 
and make sense of uncertain and ambiguous competitive 
environments. An example of utilizing the concept of mental models 
and executive learning for organizational change is Executive Support 
Systems (ESS) (Vandenbosch & Higgins, 1995). "These systems are 
designed to provide executives with high-quality information in a 
form that is easy to access, and use, and is relevant to decision 
making" (Vandenbosch & Higgins, 1995 p. 2). ESS is designed to 
contribute significantly to managers' abilities to read their 
environments and shape their organizations' competitive 
performance. The role that ESS plays is that of providing stimuli for 
executives in adapting their mental models. These stimuli may lead 
to learning in one of two ways. First, they can help to confirm 

♦ 132 

managers' existing mental models. An executive may learn to hold 
his or her position more strongly as a result of the information 
provided by an ESS. Second, information contained in an ESS may 
challenge existing mental models, and encourage and facilitate the 
development of new ones. Managers may learn to think about their 
businesses in entirely or partially new ways through their processing 
of the information contained in their ESS. 

This chapter posits that to a great extent, an organization's 
culture shapes individual and group mental models. Culture, as 
defmed, in part, by Schein, is: 

A pattern of shared basic assumptions that the group 
learned ,.., that has worked well enough to be considered 
valid and, therefore, to be taught to new members as the 
correct way to perceive, think, and feel ... (Schein, 1992 p. 

Schein continued by stating that: 

The function of cognitive structures [mental models] such 
as concepts, beliefs, attitudes, values, and assumptions [in 
other words, one's culture] is to organize the mass of 
environmental stimuU, to make sense of them, and to 
provide, thereby, a sense of predictability and meaning to 
the individual (Schein, 1992 p. 298). 

In other words, an organization's culture has a powerful impact 
on shaping the mental models of those who belong to it. We are 
positing that how people perceive the world around them and even 
what they perceive, is shaped primarily by their cultural 

♦ 133 

However, individuals and groups that belong to an 
organization's culture have, in turn, the power to shape (or reshape) 
that culture. This is most often accomplished in organizations by 
leaders. Leaders are able to alter a culture by helping individuals 
and groups change their mental models by first presenting a 
"disequilibrium" (Lewin, 1951) or "creative tension" (Senge, 1990a) 
in the current situation or state. The leader then reveals a new 
vision that helps organizational members "unfreeze" their mental 
models, begin reshaping how they perceive their world, and thereby 
change their culture. 



Anonymous. (1997). What are Mental Models? Sloan 
Management Review. 38 (3). 13. 

Argyris, C. (1985b). Strategy. Change, and Defensive Routines . 
Cambridge MA: Ballinger. 

Argyris, C, Putnam, R., & Smith, D. M. (1985a). Action Science . 
(1st ed.). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. 

Argyris, C, & Schon, D. A. (1978). Organizational Learning: A 
Theory of Action Perspective . Reading MA: Addison-Wesley. 

Barr, P. S., Stimpert, J. L, & Huff, A. S. (1992a). Cognitive 
Change, Strategic Action, and Organizational Renewal. Strategic 
Management Journal. 13 (Special Issue), 15-36. 

Barr, P. S., Stimpert, J. L, & Huff, A. S. (1992b). Cognitive 
Change, Strategic Action, and Organizational Renewal. Strategic 
Management Journal. 13 (Special). 15-36. 

Bartlett, F. C. (1932). Remembering: A Study in Experimental 
and Social Psychology . London: Cambridge University Press. 

Brewer, W. F. (1987). Schemas Versus Mental Modles in Human 
Memory. In P. Morris (Ed.), Modelling Cognition . . New York: John 

Brown, L C. (1994). New "Mental Models" for Credentialing and 
Peer Review. Health Svstems Review. 27 (May/Iune). 37-39. 

Carley, K. M. (1997). Extracting Team Mental Models Through 
Textual Analysis. Journal of Organizational Behavior. 18 (Special 
Issue) . 533-558. 

• 135 

Chawla, S., & Renesch, J. (Eds.). (1995). Learning Organizations: 
Developing Cultures for Tomorrow's Workplace . Portland, Oregon: 
Productivity Press. 

Craik, K. (1943). The Nature of Explanation . Cambridge: 
Cambridge University Press. 

DeGeus, A. P. (1988). Planning as Learning. Harvard Business 
Review. March-April . 70-74. 

Kleiner, A. (1996). The Age of Heretics: Heroes. Outlaws, and 
the Forerunners of Corporate Change . (1 ed.). New York: Doubleday. 

Lewin, K. (1951). Field theory in social science . New York- 

Lovell, R. B. (1980). Adult Learning . New York: John Wiley. 

Porac, J. F., Thomas, H., & Baden-Fuller, C. (1989). Competitive 
Groups as Cognitive Communities: The Case of the Scottish Knitwear 
Manufactures, lournal of Management Studies. 26 (4). 197-416. 

Rumelhart, D. E. (1990). Schemata: The Building Blocks of 
Cognition. In R. Spiro, B. C. Bruce, & W. F. Brewer (Eds.), Theoretical 
Issues in Reading Comprehension . . Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum. 

Sacks, O. (1995). An Anthropologist on Mars . New York: Alfred 
A. Knopf, Inc. 

Schein, E. H. (1992). Or ganizational Culture and Leadership . San 
Francisco: Jossey-Bass. 

Senge, P. (1990a). The Fifth Discipline: The Art and Practice of 
the Learning Organization . New York: Doubleday/Currency. 

Senge, P. (1990b). The Leader's New Work: Building Learning 
Organizations. Sloan Management Review. 3 2 (Fall). 

Senge, P. (1993). The Fifth Discipline Fieldbook . 


Tolman, E. C. (1948). Cognitive Maps in Rats and Men. 
Psychological Review. 55 . 189-208. 

Vandenbosch, B., & Higgins, C. A. (1995). Executive Support 
Systems and Learning: A Model and Empirical Test. Journal of 
Management Information Systems. 12 (2). 99-130. 



This research is my personal journey, seeking understanding of 
organizational change and transformation and the role that leaders 
have in effecting it. In addition, I explore the concept of mental 
models and use this concept as a tool that may help consultants 
analyze and improve a leader's efforts in changing their organization. 

Theoretical Basis for Conducting Qualitative Research 

Qualitative Research 

According to Denzin and Lincoln, qualitative research refers to 
many approaches to the study of a multitude of subjects and areas. 
However, Denzin and Lincoln provide a generic definition: 

Qualitative research is multimethod in focus, 
involving an interpretive, naturalistic approach to its 
subject matter. ... [QJualitative researchers study things in 
their natural settings, attempting to make sense of, or 
interpret, phenomena in terms of meanings people bring 
to them. Qualitative research involves the studied use 
and collection of a variety of empirical materials-case 
study, personal experience, introspective, life story, 
interview, observational, historical, interactional, and 
visual tests-that describe routine and problematic 
moments and meanings in individual's lives. Accordingly, 
qualitative researchers deploy a wide range of 
interconnected methods, hoping always to get a better fix 
on the subject matter at hand (Denzin & Lincoln, 1994 p. 

• 138 

Bogdon and Biklen posit that there are five features that all 
qualitative research possess, although a particular research design 
most likely does not have all five, and these features vary in degree 
employed: (1) Research is conducted in a natural setting and data is 
obtained from this source. The researcher is the primary tool in data 
collection. (2) Research is descriptive and anecdotal. (3) Research is 
concerned with process not just outcomes. (4) Data is not collected to 
prove a hypothesis, rather any meaning obtained comes from data 
analysis. In other words, concepts emerge or bubble up from the 
data, or as Glaser and Strauss refer to the process, "grounded theory" 
(Glaser & Strauss, 1967). (5) Researchers are primarily interested in 
subject's perceptions about the area being studied (Bogdan & Biklen, 

The multimethod focus of qualitative research is important to 
emphasize. According to Denzin and Lincoln, qualitative research is a 
set of interpretative practices with no single methodology 
predominating (Denzin & Lincoln, 1994). Unlike the positivist 
approach (see below) which believe that there is an objective reality 
"out there" and use scientific methods to validate their theories, 
qualitative researchers substitute for validity by using multimethods 
or trangulation in an attempt to gain in-depth understanding of the 
problem being investigated (Denzin & Lincoln, 1994). In addition, 
Denzin and Lincoln posit that qualitative research has "... no theory, 
or paradigm, that is distinctly its own (Denzin & Lincoln, 1994 p. 3). 
Instead many theories and paradigms claim to use qualitative 
research methods and strategies including constructivism, cultural 


studies, feminism, Marxism, and ethnic models of study. "Qualitative 
researchers use semiotics, narrative, content, discourse, archival, and 
phonemic analysis, even statistics ... and draw upon and utilize the 
approaches, methods, phenomenology, hermeneutics, feminism, 
rhizomatics, deconstructionism, ethnographies, interviews, 
psychoanalysis, cultural studies, survey research, an participant 
observations, among others" (Denzin & Lincoln, 1994 p. 3). In other 
words, qualitative research is a very broad and open field that 
allows a multitude of strategies and approaches to study a wide 
range of topics and areas. 

Phenomenological Approach 

The research in this dissertation takes a phenomenological 
approach to qualitative research. A phenomenological approach 
refers to attempts at understanding the "meaning of events and 
interactions to ordinary people in particular situations" (Bogdan & 
Biklen, 1992). In other words, we try to gain an understanding of 
how subjects perceive certain aspects of their world, what their 
reality looks like through their own eyes. The phenomenological 
approach posits that people construct knowledge about the world 
around them. "We invent concepts, models, and schemes to make 
sense of experience and further, we continually test and modify 
these constructions in the light of new experience" (Schwandt, 1994 
p. 125-126). 

Symbolic Interaction 

Additionally, this research utilizes symbolic interaction 
perspective which is compatible with a phenomenological approach 

• 140 

(Bogdan & Biklen, 1992). The basic concept of symbolic interaction is 
that people place meaning upon all aspects of their lives. These 
aspects, such as events, objects, other people, and situations, have no 
independent meaning of their own. In other words, people confer 
meaning upon them. "The meaning people give to their experience 
and their process of interpretation are essential and constitutive, not 
accidental or secondary to what the experience is" (Bogdan & Biklen, 
1992). In order to understand people's actions and behaviors, 
according to symbolic interaction, we must first understand the 
meaning they give their experiences (Schwandt, 1994). By 
understanding the symbols and meaning people confer upon their 
life experiences we can better understand their actions. 

Additionally, the meanings that people have are partially 
determined with the help of others (Schwandt, 1994). Meaning is 
constructed through interaction with such influences as other people 
and mass media. Individual's mental models are another way of 
expressing this idea of constructed meaning in symbolic interaction. 
One aspect of the research in this paper is to describe the 
constructed meaning (mental models) of leaders and other 
organizational members. According to symbolic interaction theory, 
people's actions and behavior are primarily based on these 
constructed meanings and not upon personal traits, internal drives, 
and unconscious needs and motives. It is people's perception of 
events and situations in their lives and how they interpret them that 
determine their behavior. An interpretive process also modifies 
these meanings. Meanings are modified through experiences in 

• 141 

particular situations in which the individual is engaged according to 
Mead and Blumer (Schwandt, 1994). 

Another concept that is important to symbolic interaction 
theory is the construct of "self." "Self is defined by the individual 
through interaction with others. According to Bogdan and Biklen, 
"...people come to see themselves in part as others see them" (Bogdan 
& Biklen, 1992 p. 37). Therefore, it is through the self s interaction 
with others and its perception of others' reactions to the self that 
defines the individual. 


Another approach to qualitative research that is also 
compatible with phenomenological concepts and which I employ in 
my research is portraiture. Portraiture, according to Lawrence- 
Lightfoot, is a research process that bridges the boundary of art and 
science that "combines empirical and aesthetic description" creating a 
narrative that is rich in description and captures the "essence of the 
actor's experience and perspective..." (Lawrence-Lightfoot & Davis, 
1997 p. 12-13). The authors describe portraiture as creating 

... a narrative that is at once complex, provocative, and 
inviting, that attempts to be holistic, revealing the 
dynamic interaction of values, personality, structure, and 
history. And the narrative documents human behavior 
and experience in context ... [it is] the only way to 
interpret people's actions, perspectives, and talk is to see 
them in context (Lawrence-Lightfoot & Davis, 1997 p. 11). 

As I present indepth descriptions of subjects' mental models in 
narrative form, in this paper, 1 am using a variation of the 

• 142 

portraiture method. In this approach I am attempting to produce a 
"convincing and authentic narrative" (Lawrence-Lightfoot & Davis, 
1997 p. 12). The authentic nature of these narratives is an 
important aspect of the research since reUabiUty and validity of the 
research is difficult to demonstrate or maintain. Instead, rigorous 
detail of subjects' perspectives and acknowledgment that bias can 
enter into the data is used to create authentic narratives. 

Research Design 
What organizational leaders think regarding the organization, 
its members, organizational change, and the individual's own 
existence within this environment is the result, to a great extent, of 
their mental models. Therefore, it is important for the researcher to 
understand both the contexts and mental models with which leaders 
and middle level managers are involved, since the ways in which 
transformational change is carried out may reflect the mental models 
of the initiators and implementers of that change effort. In order to 
study individuals' mental models in the context of transformational 
organizational change, this research explores four areas of subjects' 
mental models: ( 1 ) their thinking about the nature of organizations, 
(2) their beliefs about the nature of people in organizations, (3) their 
understanding of the nature of organizational change, and (4) their 
own self perception in their changing organizational environment. 

Rationale for Use of Subject Codes 

It should be mentioned that these four categories are well 
established in organizational change literature as representing 
traditional views of organizational dimensions. For example, Conner 


views organizational dimensions during change as consisting of eight 
patterns. The primary one is "Resilience," with the other seven 
supporting patterns consisting of "Synergy", "Nature," "Process," 
"Roles," "Resistance," "Commitment," and "Culture" (Conner, 1993). 
Weisbord's Six-Box Organizational Model of organizational 
dimensions consists of "Purpose," "Structure," "Rewards," "Helpful 
Mechanisms" (coordinating technologies), and "Relationships" (Burke, 
1992). The Burke-Litwin Model posits that organizational 
dimensions consists of: "Leadership," "Organizational Culture," 
"Systems," "Individual Needs and Values," "Motivation," "Task 
Requirements," "Structure," "Management Practices," "Mission and 
Strategy," "Work Unit Climate," and "Individual and Organizational 
Performance" (Burke, 1992). The four categories presented in this 
dissertation encompass all of the above organizational dimensions. 
The research is open to examining any of them which relate to the 
mental models of the subjects. 

The importance of studying and examining mental models is 
also well established in the literature!. The importance of the 
concept of mental models, according to Senge, is that the way we see 
the nature of our world determines our responses to that world 
(Senge, 1993). Bolman and Deal write extensively on the importance 
of understanding our "frames", i.e. mental models, and having the 
skill of seeing organizational situations from different "frames" and 
thereby improving leaders' opportunities to make better decisions 
(Bolman & Deal, 1997). Oshry examines the mental models of "Tops, 

1 For more information on mental models please see the literature review on 
mental models in this dissertation. 


Middles, and Bottoms" in the power hierarchy of the organization 
and the control they have over organizational life (Oshry, 1995). 
It's important to note that the research conducted for this 
dissertation on CEOs and middle level managers is a study of self 
reports without verification. What leaders and managers discuss, 
what they actually believe, and what they do in reality may be 
different, and according to Argyris, often is. Argyris believes that all 
individuals have personal theories, i.e. mental models, for action, and 
that these personal theories are assumptions that guide behaviors in 
organizations.2 Argyris constrasts our "espoused theories" (what we 
say we believe) with our "theories-in-use" (what we truly beheve) 
by positing that there may be a large gap between what individuals 
say they believe, what they actually believe, and what they actually 
do. Management styles, leadership styles, and political motives and 
actions are areas where great gaps between "espoused theories" and 
"theories-in-use" may often be found. The result is that "Managers' 
talk is often unconnected to their actions. They typically see 
themselves as rational, open, concerned for others, and democratic, 
not realizing that their actions are competitive, controlling, and 
defensive" (Bolman & Deal, 1997 p. 145). What makes the situation 
even more complex and difficult to deal with, from the perspective 
of an individual in an organization and those who work with him or 
her, is that individuals often employ self protecting behaviors to 
avoid embarrassment and/or threats to their self perceptions, 

2 See Chapter Four: Literature Review of Mental Models for detailed 

• 145 

consciously and/or unconsciously. These self protecting behaviors 
may "blind" the individuals from their true feelings and motives. 

The extent of awareness of subjects' thinking effects their 
responses to all four categories. Although the subjects may have 
reported on "espoused" mental models, rather than mental models 
"in use", this research cannot address this distinction because all 
reports are based on individual perceptions, not through researcher's 
observation. The focus of this research is on individuals' mental 
models and not on evaluation or verification based on behavior. 

The following description further explains these four areas. 

The Nature of Organizations 

The nature of organizations category refers to subjects' 
perceptions of how organizations operate, what makes them tick. 
More specifically, it refers to how subjects perceive and understand 
the relevance and importance of organizations' structure, function, 
systems and processes, rules and policies, planning and control 
systems, networks, matrix and other design structures, and 
relationships among component parts, both in general and in their 
particular context. For example, one research subject likened an 
organization to a living organism: 

I view organizations very much like organisms, human 
organisms. It is a whole and needs to be seen and treated as such. 
When layoffs occur, you need to focus on the remaining people 
and what the implications are on them both from a functional 
point of view, as how the jobs are redefined, and how the fabric 

• 146 

and texture of the organization is put back together so that it will 

actually work. 

It is important to study their perceptions of the nature of 
organizations since, as Bolman and Deal state, " Like an animal's 
skeleton or a building's framework, structural form both enhances 
and constrains what organizations can accomplish" (Bolman & Deal, 
1997 p. 39). 

The Nature of People in Organizations 

The nature of people in organizations category refers to the 
ways subjects perceive and understand what members of 
organizations want, what motivates them, how they react to different 
organizational situations and events, and how group dynamics 
impact members working in meetings, teams, task forces, and 
informal situations, both in general and in their specific context. The 
importance of considering people's needs and motivations was 
recognized by Douglas McGregor, an early researcher in human 
performance (McGregor, 1960). He was one of the first to posit that 
"...people's skills, attitudes, energy, and commitment [are] vital 
resources capable of either making or breaking an enterprise" 
(Bolman & Deal, 1997 p. 101). McGregor also posited that "The 
motivation, the potential for development, the capacity for assuming 
responsibility... are all present in people. Management does not put 
them there," stated McGregor (McGregor, 1960). 

Other researchers have written extensively on needs of 
workers and what motivates them in the work place 
(Csikszentmihalyi, 1991; Deming, 1986; EE. Lawler, 1973; Hackman & 


Oldham, 1980; Herzberg, 1966; Maslow, 1954; McClelland, 1961; 
Weisbord, 1987). 

The following quotes from subjects demonstrate examples of 
this category: 

I don't know how to describe it to you , but sort of a shutdown 
mentality that seems to kick into place when people are 
unwilling to or unable to accept that the situation is not exactly 
how they anticipated it to be and hence they have to do some 
things differently. 

An organization has to be future oriented, you see it with human 
beings. Human beings can maintain a level of energy and 
enthusiasm and excitement as long as they are focused on where 
they're going. Whenever they begin to focus on where they are 
or where they have been they lose that level of excitement and 
enthusiasm and energy. And energy is probably the most critical 
component of driving an organization because that's what has 
people create value. To think about where they can go, how they 
can get there, what it is they need to do becomes the critical 

Thus, the category "the nature of people in organizations" will 

comprise that portion of the subjects' mental models which relates to 

their perception of individual's personal roles and behaviors within 


The Nature of Planned Organizational Change 

The nature of organizational change category refers to 
subjects' perceptions and understandings of the relevance and 
importance of change, what causes resistance to it, what reduces it, 
and what motivates people to support it. Included in this is the role 
of organizational culture and norms and their contribution to 


promoting or inhibiting change. This category also refers to the 
subjects' understandings about all participants' roles in 
organizational change, leader, as well as managers and workers. 
Examples of tasks involved in effective organizational change that 
need to be considered include dealing with conflict, loss, realignment, 
and training and will be included in this category. 

The following quotations from subjects demonstrate examples 
of this category: 

I think that leadership is critically important in creating both 
environment and the broad stroke concepts about where your 
going and how your going to get there. 

I try to create a set of expectations. We launched a series of 
planning meetings in which relationship issues were placed on 
the table and then we initiated on a personnel level a program of 
personal performance and development plans that allowed me 
to, with each officer, agree on a change process for each person to 
a development process. 

Self Perception 

The self perception category refers to subjects' perceptions and 
understandings about themselves, their behaviors, motives, goals, 
and desires, within the context of their organization. This category 
also includes their discussions about the extent to which they are 
willing and able to examine themselves as to what they think and 
how they act in their organizational setting. 

McGregor is forthright in his views on the requirement of self 
perception. In the introduction to "The Professional Manager" by 
McGregor, Schein stated: 


The essence of the message [McGregor's] is that people 
react not to an objective world, but to a world fashioned 
out of their own perceptions, assumptions, and theories of 
what the world is like. Managers, like all the rest of us, 
can be trapped by these assumptions into inappropriate 
and ineffective decisions, [by] "... releasing us from this 
trap, by getting us to be aware of how each of our worlds 
is of our own making," we would then be free to make 
better choices (McGregor et al., 1967 p. xii). 

The following quotations from subjects demonstrate examples of this 

Oh, then I am a good leader, because I'm telling you, I could be a 
Jonestown type leader. These are fairly sophisticated people here, 
but I really believe these people would follow me off a cliff if I 
asked them. 

The same subject contradicted herself later by stating: 

I see this mistake coming. I left her a long voice mail message, 
'X, this is Y.' Now she needs to hear a voice mail message 
coming at 11:00 at night. 'I was looking over your memo and I 
am a little bit concerned about your meeting tomorrow.' Rather 
than, 'I think it's great X, that you're meeting with these people. 
I love the idea that you're working through these people, good 
luck.' That's the right message. But instead I'm saying , 'Do you 
Icnow what your plan is and I'm just concerned .' She probably 
listened to that message and thought 'I don't believe this bitch.' 
Yeah, that's so anal. 

Another subject states: 

So even though I'm 50 years old, I continue to be able to screw up 
and find things I managed to overlook along the way. 

• 150 

Data Gathering, Sampling, and Analysis 

The research plan was to interview leaders of five for-profit 
companies and one, or a maximum of two, of their middle level 
managers in each firm of companies currently or recently 
experiencing transformational change.^ For a company to be 
qualified for this research, they had to meet two criteria. One 
criterion for determining the existence of transformational change is, 
in part, a subjective one. As Kanter et al. state, people need to 
perceive that transformational change is taking place, as opposed to 
other types of change such as "small-c" change (Kanter et al, 1992). 
Further, what may be considered transformational in one 
organization may not be perceived that way in another. Therefore, 
interviewed subjects had to express their understanding of 
transformational change and perceive that their organization had 
recently or was currently experiencing transformational change. The 
other criterion for determining the existence of transformational 
change deals with certain empirical aspects. These include the 
presence of changes in fundamental ways the organization is run, 
changes to patterns of behavior of its members, and changes in 
accepted norms and values professed by its members. Examples of 
empirical evidence of transformational change include companies 
undergoing "downsizing," reengineering, implementation of team 
based management, rapid growth, and entrepreneurial start-ups. 

The companies that participated in this research were not 
randomly selected but were determined upon availability. It proved 

3 See Chapter Three: Literature Review of Organizational Change for detail 
description of transformational change. 


to be quite difficult to gain the participation of organizational leaders 
in this study. Without the help of one organizational leader and one 
member of my dissertation committee it would have been impossible 
to complete this research. Their connections were invaluable. 
Several interviews fell through and the committee decided that four 
companies with ten interviews was sufficient. The questions were 
designed to be open ended and the same set of questions were used 
in every interview (see Appendix II). The questions, although set up 
in a specific sequence, were really only guides for the researcher to 
be certain to cover the desired material. In every circumstance, the 
interviewed subjects covered all aspects of the desired material with 
a minimum of prompting. All interviews were audio taped, 
duplicated, and later transcribed. Interviews of organizational 
leaders took place in their offices while the other interviews usually 
took place in meeting rooms. Duplication of the tapes turned out to 
be critically important since one transcriber accidentally erased 
three interviews before transcribing them. A cover letter was sent, 
usually by fax, to each interviewee (see Appendix I). The letter 
described the intent of the interview, guaranteed anonymity, and 
defined planned transformational change. This research adhered to 
human subject conventions as stipulated in Lesley College 
regulations for such research. Interviews took place between 
November 13, 1997 and March 5, 1998. The duration of the 
interviews varied from forty minutes to one hour and forty-three 
minutes. Reliable and prompt transcription services within budgeted 
guidelines were difficult to find. This accounts for length of time of 
up to four weeks after an interview for the transcription to be 


produced. However, notes were taken about the interview and my 
perceptions of the interview situation immediately afterwards, 
usually within two hours. 


The interviews were essential for capturing needed 
information that would be used to establish the congruency or the 
degree of incongruency between espoused theory and actions of 
organizational leaders. The interviews of the middle level managers 
were used, in part, to determine the actual actions and behaviors 
that leaders manifested. Other material was utilized to gain insight 
into the leaders' thinking, actions, and behaviors including annual 
reports, advertising in the mass media, firms' Internet home pages, 
and internal company memos where available. 

To facilitate the coding of each transcription HyperResearch 
was utilized (Dupuis & Hesse-Biber, 1994). Although this software 
can not accomplish some of the operations and analysis that other 
software such as QSR NUD*1ST can, it fit my purposes of easily coding 
the interviews and then grouping them according to each category. 


I found coding personally to be an intense and difficult 
exercise to accomplish. However, as I proceeded with the coding 
work, I became much more adept at selecting codes and hence the 
process seemed to become more accurate (see Coding Accuracy 
below). The development of the codes beyond the four main 
categories that I had predetermined that I wanted to investigate was 
an emergent process, that is, codes developed from the interviews 


themselves. As coding proceeded, no new codes could be derived 
from the transcription material, a few of the existing codes were 
removed, and in a few cases wording was changed to better reflect 
the concept they represented. The HyperResearch software 
previously referred to enabled the comparison of coded material 
throughout the coding process. This enabled me to constantly refer 
to and check the codes I selected against previously coded material. 
This assisted in the consistency and accuracy of code selection. 

Coding Accuracy 

A sample of interview material was utilized as a test for the 
purpose of determining the accuracy of the researchers coding (see 
Appendix D). A total of 20 samples representing each leader and 
each of the four categories were administered to five adults. The 
test subjects were requested to choose any four of the samples and 
code them according to the discussion conducted before the test and 
using the reference material handed out to them. Thirty minutes 
were allotted for testing. The results of their coding were compared 
with the same material previously coded by this researcher. 
Correlation's were obtained in the 75% range between the total test 
subjects and this researchers coding. 

One problem that I was confronted with repeatedly was that a 
particular interview segment could be selected as representing more 
than one code. When this happened the selection was duplicated and 
assigned to the appropriate codes. In the test described above, 
interview selections with more than one code assigned was kept to a 


Validity and Reliability Issues in Qualitative Research 

The issue of validity in qualitative research! is a complex one 
(Altheide & Johnson, 1994). Positivism justifies the use of 
quantitative methods in the social sciences by citing experimentation 
and theory making process of the hard sciences such as physics and 
chemistry. Positivists seek the discovery of universal laws that 
explain actual or real events in the world. These real events are 
explained in an inductive manner by universal laws (Altheide & 
Johnson, 1994). The concepts of reliability and validity are closely 
linked since reliability or the stability of methods and results 
indicate the validity or accuracy of findings (Altheide & Johnson, 
1994). In other words, positivists approach the study of social 
science approximately the same way that scientists approach "hard 
science." Positivists' methodology attempts to discover laws about 
people and society in a manner similar to "hard science." Therefore, 
when an experiment that "proves" a universal law is repeated by 
others and the same findings result, reliability is established. 
Validity is also established by this process since a reliable 
experiment is likely testing the intended phenomena. 

Other schools of thought including postpositivism, 
postmodernism, constructionism, feminism, and 
phenomenologicalism differ in their views of qualitative research 
and the issue of validity. According to Hammersley, a scientific 
ethnographer, "An account is valid or true if it represents accurately 
those features of the phenomena that it is intended to describe, 
explain, or theorize... All knowledge and claims to knowledge are 
reflexive of the process, assumptions, location, history, and context of 


knowing and the knower" (Altheide & Johnson, 1994 p. 487-488). In 
other words, validity depends upon the intent of the research or 
from what frame of reference the researcher approaches the 
research. Validity also depends on the audience/community that is 
interpreting the research. Since reality is a social construct according 
to the schools of thought mentioned above and the researcher cannot 
exist outside of his/her assumptions, the idea that knowledge needs 
to be valid does not seem to be an applicable issue to these schools' 
research (Altheide & Johnson, 1994). 

This paper attempts to present a rich description of leaders' 
thinking in their own words. Through analysis of descriptions of 
leaders' actions from other managers and my perceptions including 
that of their organizational situation, accurate mental models are 
constructed and described. By strenuously striving for authenticity 
and accuracy, I believe the knowledge presented here is useful in 
addressing the purpose of this research. 



Altheide, D. L, & Johnson, J. M. (1994). Criteria for Assessing 
Interpretive Validity in Qualitative Research. In N. K. Denzin & Y. S. 
Lincoln (Eds.). Handbook of Qualitative Research , (pp. 485-499). 
Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. 

Bogdan, R., & Biklen, S. K. (1992). Qualitative Research for 
Education: An Introduction to Theory and Methods . (2nd ed.). 
Needham Heights, MA" Allyn and Bacon. 

Bolman, L G., & Deal, T. E. (1997). Reframing Organizations 
Aristry. Choice, and Leadership . (2nd ed.). San Franciso: Jossey-Bass. 

Burke, W. W. (1992). Organization Development A Process of 
Learning and Changing . (Second ed.). Reading MA: Addison-Wesley. 

Conner, D. r. (1993). Managing at the Speed of Change . New 
York: Villard Books. 

Csikszentmihalyi, M. (1991). Flow. The Psychology of Optimal 
Experience . New York: Haraper & Row. 

Deming, W. E. (1986). Out of the Crisis . Cambridge: 
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Center for Advanced 
Engineering Study. 

Denzin, N. K., & Lincoln, Y. S. (1994). Handbook of Qualitative 
Research . Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. 

Dupuis, P. R., & Hesse-Biber, S. (1994). HyperResearch (Version 
1.65). Randolph, MA: ResearchWare, Inc. 


E.E. Lawler, I. (1973). Motivation in Work Organizations . 
Nonterey, Calif.: Brooks/Cole. 

Glaser, B., & Strauss, A. L (1967). The Discovery of Grounded 
Theory: Strategies for Qualitative Research . Chicago: Aldine. 

Hackman, J. R., & Oldham, G. R. (1980). Work Redesign . Reading, 
Mass.: Addison- Wesley. 

Herzberg, F. (1966). Work and the Nature of Man . Cleveland: 

Lawrence-Lightfoot, S., & Davis, J. H. (1997). The Art and 
Science of Portraiture . San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Inc. 

Maslow, A. (1954). Motivation and Personality . New York 
Harper & Row. 

McClelland, D. C. (1961). The Achieving Society . Princeton: Van 

McGregor, D. (1960). The Human Side of Enterprise . New York: 

McGregor, D., Bennis, W., & McGregor, C. (Eds.). (1967). The 
Professional Manager . New York: McGraw-Hill. 

Oshry, B. (1995). Seeing Systems. Unlocking the Mysteries of 
Organizational Life . San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler. 

Schwandt, T. A. (1994). Constructivist, Interpretivist 
Approaches to Human Inquiry. In N. K. Denzin & Y. S. Lincoln (Eds.), 
Handbook of Qualitative Research , (pp. 118-137). Thousand Oaks, CA: 

Senge, P. (1993). The Fifth Discipline Fieldbook . 

Weisbord, M. (1987). Productive Workplaces . San Francisco: 



This chapter presents the data collected from interviews I 
conducted in four different companies and ten subjects. This data 
consists of coded interview statements of the subjects taken from 
interview transcriptions and my perception and explanation of their 
meaning as it relates to the four categories previously defined and 
the codes within those categories (see Appendix C for a list of codes). 
In this manner, the mental model of each subject is developed and 
presented. Finally, a comparison of the mental models of the 
subjects in each company is presented. 

Although it was necessary to edit the transcripts for clarity of 
expression, I believe that the subjects' statements, as presented here, 
represent an authentic and accurate representation of the 
interviewee's words and thoughts while preserving each subject's 
"voice" or their unique way of expressing their thoughts and ideas. 

Each company is described in turn with the CEO or president 
presented first with a description of my perceptions of the company. 
The other member or members of the company follow. 



Introduction to the Enterprise 

This enterprise is one of many direct marketing companies that 
have proliferated throughout the United States in the last 30 years. 
These companies operate in a number of different ways depending 
upon corporate proclivities. Usually the corporate office produces or 
acquires products and sets policies and procedures under which the 
sales forces operates. Corporate offices also set sales profits and 
bonuses, and do most of the advertising. The field sales force are 
independent contractors. The sales force offers products to potential 
customers at "home parties." Some direct marketing companies are 
regional, others national, and some international in scope and 
operations. Some of the best known examples of direct marketing 
companies are Mary Kay Cosmetics and Tupperware. In order to 
preserve anonimity of the subjects who kindly opened their doors to 
this researcher, details about corporate headquarters have been 
disguised or omitted, including its products. 

This company which directly markets products for the home, 
had been successful for many years in terms of business growth and 
profits earned. Some years ago growth and profits leveled off and 
the corporation then began to decline quickly. The company was 
close to failure when it was purchased. 

• 160 

A new executive took charge as president. He came to the 
company about three years prior to the interviews conducted for this 
research. During this time, the company has undergone 
tranformational change; however, since transformational change is 
not an event but a series of phases or stages, corporate headquarters 
continues to undergo transformational change as the company 
develops and grows with John's leadership (Kanter, Stein & Jick, 
1992; Kuhn, 1962). 

The corporate headquarters, located in a suburban setting, is 
modern, professional, and stylish in appearance both externally and 
internally. Inside, the building is spacious with a feeling of openness. 
The offices and cubicles are color coordinated in soft pastels with a 
modern style to the office furnishings. It has a warm, friendly 
feeling while simultaniously appearing business like. The amenities 
are nearly lush with microwave ovens and refrigerators for 
personnel use and plenty of free hot coffee and bottled water. 

The working atmosphere at corporate headquarters is one of 
constant activity. You don't see people hanging around water coolers, 
but this doesn't mean people are all business. Humor is a major 
component of the organization's culture and it runs throughout the 
corporate structure, being examplified best by the president. He has 
a good sense of humor as do many of the executives and other 
personnel. At meetings, laughter is always present. 

Another component readily visible throughout the company is 
one of caring; caring about each other, the business, the opportunity 
it provides for a satisfying work environment, and personal 
achievement while earning good salaries. Again, this is perhaps best 

• 161 

examplified by the president; people reported that this caring 
attitude preceded the president's arrival and was an important part 
of the culture, but under the strain of financially bad times, it 

John's Mental Model 
John is the corporate president. John's mental model was 
written by collecting information from two one-on-one interviews 
with him, perceptions of middle managers about him, and 
information from other personnel in his company. 

John demonstrates his strong understanding of what planned 
organizational change is, how to make it happen, and what his role as 
leader should be. He shows this through the issues and topics he 
considers important and the actual content of his discussions. John 
perceives that his company has been successful in transforming itself 
from a company whose sales were at best stagnant, that was unable 
to solve effectively routine problems, faced poor labor relations, and 
dealt with a rigid corporate way of thinking imposed from the 
former parent company. Although John sees the company still 
needing to grow and improve, particularly in project management 
and developing leadership at all levels of the organization, it has 
dramatically increased sales, improved ability to resolve issues, 
developed collaborative labor relations with the union, and has 
altered its corporate structure and culture to become more flexible 
and adaptable. 

♦ 162 

Nature of Organizations 

John indicates an understanding of organizational and business 
fundamentals in terms of how organizations operate and the 
structure and function of systems and processes. 

• There wasn't an awareness here that the company was deeply 
troubled but the informal structure was sort of self reinforcing 
of the way things had always been done. 

• If you don't have people who are good at managing projects 
you can create the environment all day long, and you don't 
get the accomplishment of tasks done in that environment. I 
think the focus and priorities have been right, but many of 
the projects just haven't been accomplished including 

ref ocusing of sales programs, refocusing marketing programs, 
etc., etc. 

Additional information on John's mental model of the nature of 

organizations is provided by the following anecdote which he told 

me. This story relates his conception of the need for management to 

gain a deep understanding of organizational systems and processes. 

It also shows John's innovative approaches and risk taking in 

attempts educate his management team. 

John challenged the management team to become sales 
representatives for two months and to sell $1,350 of products. If 
they accepted his challenge and succeeded, he would take them and 
their spouses to New York for dinner at the Four Seasons restaurant, 
drinks at the Intercontinental Hotel, and a night at the Waldorf 
Astoria. By becoming sales representatives for two months, the 
management team would have the opportunity to experience first 
hand the challenges that the sales force routinely face. They would 


be able to learn how the existing processes and systems actually 
work to help and/or hinder their sales efforts.^ 

Nature of People in Organizations 

Understanding Resistance 

John indicates, through his discussions, that he has a strong 
grasp of how people function in organizational settings and the 
factors that contribute to why they act the way they do. 

• My sense of it is that it is less active resistance in most cases 
than it is a sort of enemy kind of response; don't know what 
to do, don't know how to do it. Hence people tend to shut 

• I find virtually throughout this organization at this point, 
that there is a bit of denial about where we are at this 
moment and hence what we need to do is to get ourselves 
onto an appropriate growth track again. 

• I guess the way I would characterize it, the organization 
began to decide they couldn't deal with that issue, that it was 
just too hard and too complex to deal with and hence there 
was an increasing level of indecision. 

• There's a certain shutdown. I don't know how to describe it 
to you, but sort of a shutdown mentality that seems to kick 
into place when people are unwilling to or unable to accept 
that the situation is not exactly how they anticipated it to be 
and they have to do some things differently. 

1 Italics are used to retell information John provided outside of direct 
quotations used. 


Understanding Organizatinal Dynamics 

John shows that he understands the interplay of forces of 
various factors such as interpersonal dynamics and business 
structures within organizations. He sees in his company 
organizational dynamics being driven by sales results instead of by 
leadership and planning. The following statements demonstrate 

• Self esteem and the self confidence of the central 
organization has largely been driven by the results that were 
coming from the field. 

• Focusing is very difficult in this environment because there 
is still the sort of natural tendency to try and find out what's 
wrong versus finding out what's right and they focus on 
dealing with symptoms rather than dealing with issues. 

• Well, there is a fair amount of firefighting; there is also a lot 
of finger pointing which is probably the most destructive 
aspect of this. It's sort of like one's heart attacking one's 
liver, saying the liver isn't doing it's job, that's why 
everything is fucked up, and I've come to the conclusion 
after all these years in management that when times are less 
than good there's an almost natural inclination for that to 
happen and it requires an enormous effort by management 
and leadership just to keep the organism from almost self- 

John believes that interpersonal dynamics when destructive, 

can impact the entire organization. The following statement 

demonstrates this thinking. 

• While it's not an easy group to manage, it's been particularly 
troublesome because of some dynamics both in personalities, 
of both the new people I introduced and the people who have 


been here. The compound complexities of interaction of 
human beings within the organization. And once that heat 
versus hght thing starts to happen it has very, very strange 
ramifications throughout the organization and righting that 
can become a full-time job. 

Understanding the Need for Achievement 

John understands that people strive to achieve and that this 
striving is an important factor in transforming organizations. John 
tries to create an environment where people can succeed. 

• And energy is probably the most critical component of 
driving an organization because that's what has people create 
value and thinking for themselves about where they can go, 
and how they can get there. What it is they need to do 
becomes critical. 

• I have an aversion to telling people what to do, because I 
don't think that's generally constructive in creating a long 
term environment in which people succeed. 

Although John has the company offering generous incentives 

for achievement, he believes that it's important to create an 

environment where people think for themselves and value their own 

success as well. 

Others View of John 

Another CEO, whom 1 met, describes John in the following way. 

• I really find John to be a good example of someone genuinely 
kind. Even though I've never had a people conversation 
with John, he is very sensitive and open. Not the typical guy, 
I gotta tell you. Most of the guys are much more focused on 
territorial aspects, and I know it's stereotyping. 


Understanding the Nature of Planned Organizational Chang e 
Understanding The Value Of Recognizing The Need For Change 

John understands the need for organizational members to 
believe that there is a reason that the organization must make 
changes. This is demonstrated by such statements as: 

• The company had been failing and there was an expectation 
of employees that unless things changed, the company would 

• There was not the normal inertia among the employees that 
one encounters in an organization which is at least 
reasonably satisfied with its progress. There was a reasonably 
fertile environment for undertaking refocusing and changing 
of the company. 

Understanding The Importance And Value Of Leadership And Management In 
Organizational Transformation 

John recognizes the need for leadership, as well as competent 
management, at various levels within the organization, not just at the 
top, by stating that: 

• X is a very competent administrator. Unfortunately, her 
personality and approach is more managerial than leadership. 

• You need to lead your group in terms of providing focus, the 
framework, and inspiration based on combinations of 
various rewards and recognition that will have them aspire 
to do well, both in their own terms and in organizational 
terms. Without that leadership, one falls into a situation 
where you're sort of constrained by the limit of your own 
[CEO's] capabilities and time. And I don't care who the 
individual is or how capable they are, in a organization such 
as this, one has to be able to delegate effectively, that is to be 


able to rely on individuals to make good solid creative 
decisions on an ongoing basis in order for the organization to 
function. This is one of the issues that we are dealing with 
right now Steve, that it becomes increasingly dependent on 
the leader. You very quickly reach the limit of what that one 
individual, again regardless of how competent they may be, 
can do, and that is as true in a function head as it is in a CEO. 

• I think it's an interesting arrangement between Ed 
[manufacturing vice president] and Bill [human resources 
vice president] because Ed is a leader and John is much more 
of a manager. They have really complementary skills at least 
from my pint of view. Bill is a very very strong almost task 
oriented manager, while Ed is much more of an inspirational 

• I think leadership is critically important for creating both 
environment and the broad strokes concepts about where 
you're going and how you're going to get there. 

• If you don't have the vision about where you're going, the 
pieces that you're doing today are likely to be random. If you 

don't do the pieces you need to do today, you're not going to 
get to your vision. 

Jolin understands that leadership skills are needed for 
transformational change to occur. John is able to perceive 
differences between management skills and leadership skills and 
that each brings certain needed aspects to transformational change. 

Understanding Planned Organizational Change Concepts 

John indicates that he grasps many of the fundamental 
activities and tasks involved in implementing transformational 


• A restart of knowing what we know now, a refocusing and 
restart on those things that are going to be most critical to 
take us from where we are now to the next point. 

• Now if that management style is adhered to, too rigidly, it can 
become problematic because the need of the business is 
evolving particularly as you go through change. However, if 
you don't have it at all, your evolution becomes much less 

Understanding Organizational Culture 

John indicates an understanding of organizational culture by 
recognizing differences in corporate cultures and that certain types 
of organizational cultures can be problematic for him in running the 
company as he wants to. 


Basically as you are aware that X [another company ] is a 
company that had a very corporate kind of environment. 

• 1 think a big part of it was cxdtural, not in the sense of Sally 
being African American, but in the sense of having grown up 
in a culture that was much more directive at X, versus one 
that is more a negotiating culture, which it is in our case, and 
Sally became quite frustrated and could become quite rigid 
when confronted with someone who disagreed with her. 

• The reality of that situation was that we needed to lead the 
field organization and refocus their efforts. Because of all this 
baggage, meaning the strong corporate culture Sally came 
from, she couldn't do that effectively. 

• The way business was being handled had sort of entrenched 
itself in terms of issues that were just not being dealt with on 
a timely basis and decisions not being made. All this is sort of 


a malaise that effects an organization that has lost its 
confidence in itself. 

Several anecdotes related by other people in John's company 
add further evidence of his mental model in this category. In the 
example below, Tom [a sales director] illustrates John's 
understanding of his role as leader of the organization, the need for 
open and honest communications, and the need for people to work as 
a team. 

John perceived the need, when he first took over the company, 
to change certain aspects of the existing culture as he perceived it. 
He wanted to gain all pertinent information about the existing 
situation but was blocked because managers and directors were used 
to protecting themselves by managing the perceptions of the former 
presiden t. To accomplish this, John held a n umber of long and 
intense brainstorming sessions with the management team. He 
facilitated these meetings to bring out all of the problems and issues 
facing the company. He demanded honesty from everyone and 
patiently reinforced this aspect of the new culture that he desired 
until meetings became productive and insightful. John did not take 
the approach that he was the expert because he freely admitted that 
he had little understanding about this kind of business. He showed 
respect for the management team's knowledge of the business by 
actively listening to them without rejecting any ideas. After 
approximately three weeks of problem solving and planning 
meetings John with the management team began implementing the 

Understanding One's Own Role 

• We had never really dealt with that [problem] well and here I 
will take however much responsibility there is to take on that. 

• I realized a fundamental change was needed, but what 1 
didn't do as well as 1 needed to, in retrospect, was to force the 


editing process. That is the underpinning of fundamental 
change so that what indeed happened was the addition of 
new initiatives versus the replacement of the old for the 

John indicates that in his role as CEO he felt was not forceful 

enough with others to bring about sufficient scrutinizing in the way 

the company dealt with certain issues. 

Understanding the Need for Rewards and Recognition 

In addition to the previous example of the rewarding of the 
sales representatives, John told a story of the need for appropriate 
and prompt rewards and recognition to reinforce desired behaviors. 

During the first year under his leadership, John challenged the 
executive team with a high quarterly sales goal. Divisions that 
reached their goal won an incentive trip to the Caribbean. The top 
five divisions were given money to celebrate being the "Best of the 
Best" with their groups. Of the 1 00 Divisions, 75% made their goals. 
When the goal was surpassed, John distributed bonuses to the sales 
directors and came in on a Saturday to sign the checks so that they 
would be received the following Monday morning. 

John believes that positive reinforcement is crucial in his 

organization. It is important to John to create an environment where 

people can safely take risks and, at the same time, where success is 

rewarded and failure is seen as a learning experience. The following 

statement clearly shows this. 

• The environment that's been created is one that is not 

punitive, and reinforces success rather than punishes failure. 

Perceives Successful Cliange 


John perceives success in the company's transformational 

• Overall, as one looks back at the results of the last three years, 
they are clearly positive. We've got a company that's nearly 
twice the size that it was three years ago. It is significantly 
profitable; it has a very positive cash flow, and the 
expectations have been increased significantly. 

Self Perception 

John is introspective and self aware of himself as a leader, 
manager, team player, and human being. He is conscious of his role 
in rebuilding and revitalizing his company, but downplays the size of 
his contribution. In particular, he underestimates, at least in 
conversation, his impact on his company's transformation. In other 
situations where I had the opportunity to discuss briefly his 
contributions to the turnaround, he insisted that he didn't do it alone; 
the other employees made it happen. However, it is his ability to 
create an organizational environment where others can succeed that 
seems to me to be truly his major contribution. 

Seeing Oneself as Leader 

Throughout this interview, John demonstrates that he sees 
himself as a leader. An additional statement also indicates this. 

• What I'm doing right now is sort of encouraging and kick 
starting by saying that we are in control of our destiny we 
have to do this and make it happen. 


Philosophy of Living 

In a lot of our discussions, John places his thoughts about 
business and people in the larger context of our whole lives. The 
statement following is a clear example of this. 

• Those who maintain a focus on accomplishment in whatever 
sense are considerably more alive in my view than those who 
have lost that focus on accomplishment. People well into 
their 70's, 80's, and 90's, can be very alive and vibrant and 
terrific. All of that relates to their continuing to focus on 
moving forward. The flip side of that whiich we've all seen, is 
someone who stops focusing and in essence becomes passive 
and /or only reflective about their past and tends to be much 
less vibrant and alive and is actually moving toward death 
rather than continuing in life. 

Self Awareness 

John tends towards self deprecation. However, he is well 
aware of his abilities and where he needs to be dependent upon 

• The next stage that needs to happen which I'm less good at, 
and have more dependence for having people around me 
who are good at it, is to convert that into a reasonably specific 
managerial plan of projects, and project objectives that need to 
be accomplished. 

• I have my faults, but one of them is not that I have difficulty 
dealing with reality. 

• So I got hoisted in some respects by my own petard in as 
much as I probably wasn't tough enough on people in terms 
of demanding that either the damn projects be managed or 
that I'm going to replace them. 



Jane is the director of customer service having joined the 
company to take that position 1 8 months prior to this interview. 
Jane's mental model was written by collecting information from one 
interview, from other personnel in the organization, and personal 
observations by this researcher during the interview visits. 

Much of the interview with Jane C. was spent, at her initiation, 
discussing the topic of leadership. Jane C. has used her leadership 
skills to focus on improving the customer service operations. She 
appears very business-like, efficient, yet thoughtful and friendly. 

The Nature of Organizations 

Understanding Organizational Systems and Processes 

Jane mentioned several recent issues related to management 
planning and organizational processes and systems such as 
antiquated reporting systems, lack of measurements, and strategic 
planning. She was hired to correct these issues. This is 
demonstrated by such statements as: 

• We did some market research over the past year to determine 
what we should be doing, what we should be offering 
especially comparing ourselves with some other very active 
and growing companies. 

• Customer service prior to me getting here did not have 
service level statistics. They are a call center environment yet 
didn't know how many calls they were handling, what their 


service level was in handling calls, and what the vital 
statistics were for operating that area. They had a system but 
the system was so old and was so wrong, that for years it ran 
while they knew it was garbage and the numbers they were 
getting were garbage. 

The Nature of People in Organizations 
Jane demonstrates in our discussions an understanding of what 
motivates people and what their needs are in the work place. 

Sensitivity to Otiiers' Feelings and Emotions 

Jane shows a sensitivity to people's feelings. In the following 
statement, she focuses on one of her employees who is concerned for 
her career because of her illness. Jane doesn't dwell on the possibly 
negatively impact of the illness on her organization, but shows 
support and compassion for the employee. 

• I had someone who recently underwent cancer treatments. 
She's a trooper. She was undergoing radiation and still 
working half a day for the six weeks that she was having 
treatments. And she was very concerned about the impact of 
her disease on her future in the company. She talked with 
me about what her career goals were and what she wanted to 
do and how she felt this was really going to throw a wrench in 
everything. The kind of things that I shared with her were, of 
course, you know that's not you primary concern right now, 
what you need to be concerned with is getting well and, as far 
as your career, we can absolutely work on a plan to keep you 
on track for where you want to be, what you want to be 
involved in, even if you are out of commission, so to speak, 
for the next six weeks, that's, six weeks out of how many years 

• 175 

have you been here and how many years you will be here. 
That's not significant. 

Understanding the Need for Rewards and Recognition 

Jane indicates her understanding of the need to positively 
reinforce desirable behavior. She encourages her employees by 
recognizing their efforts and giving kudos for their accomplishments. 

• I'm very, very quick to compliment them by saying I'm so 
glad you took the initiative to decide that; that's the same 
thing I would have decided.' 

• I compliment them for coming to me about things like that. 
'I'm glad you feel so comfortable to come and talk to me about 

Understanding Organizational Dynamics 

Jane indicates the need for an understanding of organizational 
dynamics, particularly interpersonal ones, that exist in organizations. 
This is demonstrated by the following statement where she 
acknowledges her need to earn the respect of her employees, 
realizing that first impressions are important. 

• You may have noticed I'm kind of young and when I came 
into this position, I'd been in a management position for 
about 8 to 10 years at different companies. It's very important 
for me first to earn respect of the group; that's probably my 
biggest challenge when I first come in. People have a 
tendency to quickly judge, oh she's young she couldn't know 
what she's talking about. I don't want people to focus on my 
age. I want an opportunity to earn their respect by my 
knowledge and experience from previous employers, from 
education, and whatever. 


Jane understands conflicts that make it difficult to gain 
agreement among people. This is demonstrated by the following 

• But then on the other hand you can never get them to agree 
about anything. There's so many different organizations and 
there's so many different business structures out there that 
any one decision we mal<e is not going to satisfy all of them. 

In the following statement, Jane seems to indicate her need to 
show her respect for the people in her organization when she first 
joined the company. This statement also shows her understanding 
for developing good communications with them, starting with 
demonstrating good listening skills. 

• They actually have said to me since then that a lot of the 
questioning techniques that I used actually felt very nice 
because it meant that someone new coming in wanted to hear 
about how things were being done instead of assuming that 
it's just like every place else. 

The Nature of Planned Organizational Change 

Understanding Leadership and Management 

The conversation with Jane was dominated by discussions 
about leadership and management. Jane often related what her 
leadership style was, how she used it, and what results she expected 
to attain in leading her department. 

* 177 

In the following statement, Jane describes how she persists 
with her "direct reports" 2 in trying to get them to consider and then 
accept a change to extend the hours of customer support. Her style 
seems to be one of finding out what their issues are about the change 
and forcing them to challenge their thinking. Jane understands that 
people need to see that the change is necessary before they are 
likely to accept it fully. She appears to try hard at getting her 
management team to understand the need for the change. 

• I never dropped the idea. I mentioned it to them every once in a 
while. What do you think; don't you think we need to do this? 
What do you notice about other places that you call. Finally, I 
realized why they were cringing wasn't so much extending the 
hours and staffing and the additional stuff that comes along with 
that, as much as it was their own security of hours that they would 
work. That was what they were concerned about. 

Jane covers several key issues involved in accomplishing 

organizational transformation in the following segment when she 

discusses developing leadership in her direct reports. One is ongoing 

communication with her department. Another is creating leaders at 

all levels of the organization. A third is subordinate decision-making 

and involvement in planning and implementation. 

• I try to ask questions of my supervisors and managers to get 
them talking with those who report to them, in order to lead 
them in a particular direction. It sounds like diplomacy or 
manipulation, but it's really very effective because, after all, 
it's their decision and it wasn't mine, even though, I planted 
the seeds. It was their decision and they're much more 
willing to accept it. 

2 Meaning her work with people who directly report to her. 

• 178 

Jane seems to understand when it is necessary for her to make 
a decision, even if her organization isn't ready to accept the change 
she purposes. Even in these situations, she includes her group in 
designing the implementation plan. 

• There have been times when I think I've felt it was critical to the 
department in a way that they could not notice, but because of my 
experience and how I want the department to be viewed by the rest 
of the company I have made a decision for them and I've said, 
'listen, you know we've talked about this several times. I feel 
we've got to act on it. We cannot wait any longer to do it.' Like the 
evening shift, I feel that we need to do this now and I want them to 
help me put together a staffing plan, rather than delay the process by 
continuing to try to get their input. I guess I feel 1 have to make that 
decision and then I can get their participation. 

• I always try to get their participation or get them to think of the 
change and then get them to implement it. Depending upon the 
business needs and time frames, I determine whether or not I'm 
going to force the decision and make it for them, and then help 
them put together a plan. Or I may keep playing with it for a while 
to get their input, and get them to think about how to implement it. 

Jane attempts to create a work environment that supports risk- 
taking and rewards her managers' efforts to develop their 
managerial skills. This is demonstrated by the following statement: 

• If they make the wrong decision, that's a lesson learned for all of us, 

and if it was a costly decision, 1 won't have to teach them again. I 
consider it training money well spent. 

Jane shows a fundamental understanding of how to bring 

people together to work as a team. As the statement below indicates, 

sharing and understanding each other's roles, responsibilities, and 

missions helps accomplish team work. 


• I had to address with them their positions, their responsibiUties, 
their roles in the company and if they didn't understand these 
things we needed to talk about them. We define our roles and we 
create mission statements for each department. We worked on it 
together to enhance team work by understanding each other roles 
and responsibilities. I didn't write their mission statements for 
them I helped them the same participatory way I talked about 

Jane recognizes the need for effective leadership at the highest 
levels of the organization. In the following statement, she discusses 
the problems that result at her level when top level leadership is 

• I want our senior executives to be our leaders. If they cannot 
get along on issues, then surely it shouldn't be a surprise if 
some of their direct reports aren't getting along on issues too, 
because you know, it stems from the top. 

Several of the senior executives whom she felt were ineffective 

were indeed replaced by John after he had given them ample 

opportunity to improve their performance. 

Understanding the Need for Communications 

Many of the comments that Jane made in this interview show 
her understanding for the need to communicate well with her 
subordinates. Many of her comments show her skills at eliciting 
information and gaining understanding of subordinates' thought 
processes. In the statement below, Jane also lets her management 
team know that she is available to support them. 

• I meet with my direct reports maybe once every couple of months, 
just to ask them how's everything going in their areas; how are they 

* 180 

feeling about things; what's concerning they right now; and how 
they see their biggest projects going. I also ask what can I do to 
support them and if there's something that they need more support 
from me on. 

Besides informal communications, Jane states that formal 
communication is important too. The two statements below relate to 

• We've also implemented in both customer service and order 
entry, quarterly performance appraisals. Representatives who 
I have working in customer service and order entry need to 
know what our expectations are even more so than say a 
manager or an executive. 

• Customer service and order entry need regular feedback on 
how they're doing, and we need it as a department to improve 
our service. 

Understanding Resistance 

In the two statements below, Jane demonstrates an 
understanding of employee resistance. In the first, she shows an 
understanding of how people react to ongoing change, and in the 
second, she believes that being the new manager of the department, 
she won't face much resistance. 

• Some of them are very committed to this change. We have 
new 'Easy Ideas' coming out all the time, every month there's 
a new 'Easy Idea.' I think it's really impossible for us to expect 
them to keep up with every new 'Easy Idea.' They will latch 
on to the ones they like best and they will continue using 
them repetitiously, and that's what I see most of them doing. 

• Initially, I think they were eager to please and they were kind 
of anxious to see what kind of person this is that they would 

♦ 181 

be working for. So they were trying to do everything they 
could to please me so they weren't going to resist anything. 

Need for Change 

In many of the discussions, Jane indicates the need to improve 
her department and the reasons for doing so, particularly to improve 
service to their customers. Jane discusses frequently with her 
department the need to change, sometimes drastically, how their 
department operates. The following statement bluntly indicates with 
plain language about this situation. 

• They had a system but the system was so old and was so 
wrong that for years they knew it was garbage, the numbers 
they were getting were garbage. 

Perception of Change 

Jane believes that her and her department's efforts have been, 
at least partly, successful. This kind of statement, as the one found 
below, goes hand-in-hand with recognition she gives to her 
employees of their accompHshments. 

• I think we have a ways to go, but I'm very pleased with the 
performance appraisal process we've put in place and with the 
feedback that we've tried to provide to the rest of the 
company. We have reports that are circulated to the 
executives and sales directors on a regular basis. We have 
voice mail messages that are circulated to them weekly letting 
them know what's going on with this, that, and the other; 
information that they were not getting before now. 

« 182 

Understand Need for Team work 

Throughout our discussions, Jane speaks frequently about team 
work. In the selections below Jane first defines what team work 
means to her and then gives two examples of the importance of team 
work to accomplishing her department's goals. 

• Teamwork means if you and I are on a team together, I'm 
sharing with you what I'm doing. If I'm doing something 
that's going to effect you, then we work together to make 
decisions. I don't operate autonomously from you and make 
decisions that have an impact on you and then fight with you 
about it when that happens. You and I may not agree on what 
play we should make, at which game, but you know what 
direction I'm going to go with this decision and why I'm 
doing it. We know each other's reasons and we're not quick 
to judge. 

• The benefits to me of taking that approach is that I develop 
another self, an empowered team. It's not a team that, when 
I'm out of the office or when I'm pulled away for another 
project, 1 need to answer every question for them. They learn 
how to work on their own. 

• We have a distribution center in another state and the 
distribution center director and I work very closely. Now in 
most companies we're at each other's throats all the time 
because if you don't ship something and 1 get a call about it, 
I'm mad at you about it, or you key something wrong and I 
have to fix it. We're very very fortunate to have a marvelous 
relationship. We disagree about things; he causes me some 
problems and 1 cause him problems, but we really have a good 
working relationship. We can tell each other the truth, there's 
nothing political between us. There are no hidden agendas 
between us. We want to get the job done. I feel that same way 
about most of the other people I work with. Actually, for us 


where I work, I feel that way about everybody. All of the sales 
directors, all of the marketing department, the sales 
department staff, all the finance, all of the different 
departments seem to work very well with me, and I with 

Although Jane finds it valuable to develop teams, she also 

indicates that an over dependence on working as a team can have a 

detrimental impact upon the business. The statement below 

concerns such involvement of field sales people. 

• I think it's been a limitation to our success in that they are so 
involved in making decisions that they may not fully 
understand and it's too hard to get a consensus from them so 
only the loudest ones get the vote. I think that hinders us. 

Self Perception 
Jane makes statements that indicate she understands her own 
goals and motives as leader of her department. She thinks about 
how others see her, is introspective about her plans and actions, and 
is aware of her impact upon others. 

Ability to See From Others' Viewpoint 

As a manager, Jane shows concern for how her subordinates 
view her. She doesn't want to appear condescending, not only 
because it's not in her nature, but because it is destructive to the 
team approach she is trying to build. 

• I don't want to be condescending to them at all. I'm very 
careful about that and so far I've not had any feedback from 
them that they feel I'm being that way. 

# 184 

Seeing Oneself as a Leader 

Many of the statements that Jane makes in this interview show 
evidence that she sees herself as a leader. As leader, Jane discusses 
her leadership style of coaching, guidance, setting goals, and 
supporting her people in reaching them. She sees herself striving 
towards greater accomplishments. Taking a leadership position is 
normal and comfortable for her. The following statements 
demonstrate these points. 

• I coach and kind of guide them. If I don't feel they're coming 
to the right conclusion I help by dropping hunts. 

• If there's any contribution I can make to corporate 
headquarters it's for that group to run independently and to 
run well, so that anybody can step in and keep it runrung. 

• This type of style to me is very normal, it's what I grew up in. 

This isn't the case for my management team; they're used to 
people who tell them, 'here's what were going to do.' I won't 
do that. I said, 'you make a proposal to me of what you think 
we ought to do, I will discuss it with you and talk about what 
are our options and I will help you come to a final decision 
that you are comfortable with, but I'm not going to sit here 
after only hearing a few of the facts from a very emotional 
conversation and make a decision for you.' 

• I need to focus more on productivity. I focused a lot on the 
softer things: their ability to manage their groups; their ability 
to appraise their groups. I haven't really pushed them or 
myself. We've got productivity standards but I haven't 
pushed us to exceed those standards. 

• I quickly assessed who I thought were my strongest and 
weakest players, I also managed to help them go to certain 


seminars and training classes, and I've conducted some 
training classes on how to do performance appraisals. 

• In one way they are very loyal. They appreciate, I guess, my 
confidence in their abilities to do things and they appreciate 
my support of them. Now, we disagree on things and often 
times I may go to them and say, 'You know I'm really 
concerned about your approach on this project. Let's talk 
about what some of the others issues are from other 
departments like marketing, sales, whomever, and look at 
what's important to them. I know what's important to you, 
but let's look at it from a big picture.' That's mainly what I've 
seen my role being is to try to bring a bigger picture to them. 

Perhaps Jane feels some level of ambivalance between the 

leadership style she describes, and what appears to me to be her 

tendency for power and control. 

• From the way that I manage I'm not the kind of person that 
holds onto to power that much. Power and titles mean 
nothing to me. 

Also, she describes her concern for gaining the respect of her 

people, yet also states she doesn't care if they like her or not. 

• I ask them how do you feel things are going in the 
department; what concerns you, what doesn't concern you? 
To me that's what I'm concerned about. I don't really care 
whether they like me or whether they don't like me. I'm just 
concerned are we getting the job done. 

Self Awareness 

Jane is aware of what motivates her and what gives her 
satisfaction, which is leading her department, developing her people, 
and accomplishing goals as a team. She seems to be aware of her 

' 186 

strengths and weaknesses. The following statements demonstrate 
these points. 

• I'm motivated by accomplishment and that makes me feel 

• I mean I consider them and the front line group. They really know 
more about that department than I do and I think that's the way it 
ought to be. 

• They said that it's just easier if I tell them a solution. And I 
said, 'yes, but that's not really the way it should be is it, I'm 
not going to know always the best solution for you.' 

• It's like when your child speaks their first word, it's so 
gratifying for me to see them develop. 

Ability to See From Another's Viewpoint 

Jane demonstrates in the following two statements that she 
considers how others feel and think about working in the 
organization. The first statement indicates that she understands that 
some people in her department are not likely to be as open as 
needed in communicating their needs. Jane anticipates their 
difficulty and tries to find a solution. In the second, Jane expresses 
an understanding of how difficult the situation is for the president of 
her company and the pressures he has to deal with. 

• I'm not asking them to tell me, 'You did a lousy job 
supporting me on this project.' I'm trying to give them an 
easy way of saying that. Instead, I say to them, what area can I 
give you more support in? I know that a couple of them, if 
they have felt that there was something going on that I wasn't 
supporting them enough, they'd come to me and say it. 
They've said, 'You know I've got this such and such going on 
and I really need to know how you feel about it, and your 


opinion about it and your opinion about my performance in it 
as well.' 

• I feel for him [the president] that that's an enormous amount 
of pressure to have. I've mentioned before you can never 
make them all happy. Somebody's complaining about this, 
somebody else is happy about that and they're never all 
happy, so I feel for him being in that role. 

View of the President 

The following statements demonstrate some of how Jane views 
John, the president of her company. 

• I knew people who had worked with him; I knew vice 
presidents and presidents I had worked for prior to taking this 
job. I asked them what they knew about this guy. They all 
gave me the same response I see here; he encourages 
participation in management decisions which obviously was a 
good signal to me because I know that is a major part of my 
management approach and style, that is to encourage people 
to come to their own conclusions on decisions. I see John as 
doing that. I also see him during difficult times as saying, 
'We're not coming to the decision as quickly as I'd like to, so 
I'm going to help step this up some. Here is the decision I 
want us to come to, now let's go implement it.' I see that 
management style in him in other areas. 

• John's been very involved with the field and then, like an 
icon or leader for the field, they adore him. Everything that's 
good about our company emanates from him as far as the 
field is concerned and they think he is a like a savior to our 
company and I guess specifically considering the rough times 
they've had in the recent past, I can see how they feel that way 
about him. 


I know particularly in my department they admire John. They 
feel that what he has said he's going to do with the company 
he has either accomplished or made every attempt to do so. 

At Christmas time I invited everyone to come work in order 
entry and help us process all of the Christmas orders and 
John did. He came in on a Saturday for a few hours and 
because he does things like that, they feel he's very down to 
earth and they also feel very comfortable with him. 




The CEO, John and the Director of Customer Service, Jane, have 
mental models that are far more similar than dissimilar. In an 
organization such as theirs, their view of people and what their 
needs are, are quite similar. Both similarly view the organizational 
dynamics, both interpersonal and systems. That is, they see the 
importance of being aware of and attempting to understanding the 
complex interaction of people within organizational systems. Both 
see themselves as leaders and feel comfortable in that position. They 
both approach organizational transformation are similar ways, by 
including employees in decision-making, planning, and 

John and Jane come to their positions facing similar challenges. 
John took over the company several years ago as it was declining at 
an increasing rate. His initial challenge was to increase the value of 
the company as an investment opportunity. Jane arrived about 18 
months later facing the challenge of improving and upgrading 
customer service. Both the problems they faced were similar, and 
their responses to these problems also appear to be similar. They 
both needed to create transformational change in an organization 
that had become demoralized through mismanagement and neglect 
and they both consciously used their leadership skills along with 
their strong interpersonal skills in setting and achieving new goals. 


In his interview, John speaks primarily about the organization 
as a whole. He sees some fundamental problems with the 
organization that are caused largely by people's denial of the current 
situation and their focus, not on the future, but on the past and 
present. The current situation of denial and lack of focus on the 
future, John believes, was caused by the poor business results that 
the company experienced for a number of years prior to his arrival 
and the failure of leadership throughout which resulted in spirit and 
energy of the personnel being dissipated. 

Jane faced a department that had allowed customer service and 
order entry to languish. Her department did not measure its service 
quality and personnel were not given regular performance 
appraisals. The department did not have a good reputation with its 
field sales people. 

The Nature of Organizations 
Both John and Jane understand business systems and 
processes, with John having vastly greater experience and the 
resulting knowledge of business operations, strategy, and structure. 
Neither spent much time in their interviews discussing business 
operation in general. They both made reference to this category 
when they discussed specific issues and situations. 

The Nature of People in Organizations 
John and Jane similarly perceive what people's needs are in 
organizational settings, what motivates them, and how people react 
to different situations and events in organizational life. In her 


interview, Jane focuses on her need to communicate well with her 
group, at first to give them goals to strive for, then to facilitate their 
development of goals, and throughout show her support for and 
recognition of their efforts. 

John primarily discusses interpersonal dynamics and what the 
cause of some the serious problems are as he perceives them. John 
displays a broad view of people in organizations. He talks about an 
organization being a living organism. This is a holistic, systems view 
of organizations. John also focuses on resistance and denial that, he 
believes, exists in the company and are the result of a complex 
interplay of forces, both human and systemic. Jane's situation is 
more concrete and discrete than John's and if she does, indeed, think 
in these broad terms, she did not mention them. 

John believes that it is the responsibility of the CEO to pay 
attention to relationships. He discusses the importance of 
interpersonal relationships and his role in facilitating them. 

Jane sees her people in need of being trained in working 
together to set goals and accomplish tasks. She provides structure 
for them to contribute. Jane reflects John's belief of reward, 
achievement, and being personally supportive. 

John views organizations in holistic terms. He discusses the 
interdependences of organizational parts and the ramification of 
actions and events on the functioning of the organization and its 
people. Jane's scope is less broad, as appropriate to her position. 
However, she does see the impact of interrelationships both within 
her group and with other departments in the organization. 


The Nature of Planned Organizational Change 
On transforming organizations, John's and Jane's mental models 
have a number of similarities. They both believe that leadership and 
management play an important role in moving an organization 
through transformational change. Both talk about leadership not just 
at the top but throughout the organization. Jane explains her 
participatory leadership style in relationship to actions she takes in 
transforming her department. Both Jane and John speak of creating 
a work environment that is focused on rewarding accomplishments 
rather than punishing failure. 

Jane explains in detail the way she develops change in her 
department by focusing on rewarding achievements, viewing 
mistakes as learning experiences, working hard at creating a 
management team with both responsibility and authority, and 
developing formal and informal communications among her direct 

Both John and Jane understand that to gain full support for 
transformation, people must see the need for change and be involved 
in decision-making on design and implementation of changes. At the 
same time, both believe they are able to determine when they need 
to step in and make decisions without undermining the collaborative 

Self Perception 
Both John and Jane have strong self awareness of themselves 
as leaders of their respective organizations. John appears to feel 
completely at ease and comfortable in his leadership position. Jane 

• 193 

appears to feel somewhat less comfortable in her position. John is 
introspective and looks within himself to examine and question his 
actions and motives. Jane has displayed some ambivalence between 
her understanding of what her leadership style and behavior needs 
to be and her apparent natural inclination for control. They are 
aware of their own goals and what motivates them and both are 
strongly goal and achievement oriented. They appear to be sensitive 
to the feelings and emotions of others and demonstrate the ability 
and importance of seeing from others' viewpoints. 



Kanter, R. M., Stein, B. A., & Jick, T. D. (1992). The Challenge of 
Organizational Change: How Companies Experience It and Leaders 
Guide It. New York: The Free Press. 

Kuhn, T. S. (1962). The Structure of Scientific Revolutions . 
Chicago: University of Chicago Press. 




Ed is the senior vice president of operations and general 
manager of manufacturing for this manufacturing company. He was 
brought in to restore this company's manufacturing capability after 
years of neglect by former management. New management bought 
this facility and set it up as a largely autonomous unit. The 
manufacturing plant is located in the poor, rural South. It is a 
unionized facility with a long history of antagonism between 
management and labor. A few years before the current owners took 
over, they had brought in an outside management group to run 
manufacturing. These efforts, according to many accounts, squeezed 
out profits which often came at the expense of the workers. This 
exacerbated the situation. Ed was brought in to deal with the poor 
production and quality, the need to rebuild a major component of the 
manufacturing facility, and renegotiations with the union. 

Ed teamed up with the vice president of human resources and 
together they developed plans to radically alter the working 
environment and return the plant as a viable manufacturing facility. 

Ed is a quiet, gentle man with a dry sense of humor as I 
discovered during his interview. I met with Ed at his headquarters 
office and later spent two days visiting the manufacturing plant, 
talking to a number of employees, and interviewing two other 
managers. Our recorded conversation was brief; nevertheless, it 

seems to be a true representation of both Ed's mental model and 
actions as I discovered on my visit to the manufacturing site. 

Ed has worked in previous positions for the president at other 
companies and brought these experiences into our conversations as 

Nature of Organizations 
Our conversations only peripherally touched on organizational 
systems and processes. Management planning was discussed in the 
context of a skill that supervisors and managers lacked and that Ed 
and Bill (VP of Human Resources) saw as a critical need which they 
spent much of their time addressing. 

Nature of People in Organizations 

Need for Achievement 

A common theme throughout this case of a manufacturing 
company is the people's desire to achieve. No matter what their job, 
the workers repeatedly indicated not only their desire, but their 
ability to make significant contributions to the business if given the 
opportunity. The example below demonstrates Ed's discovery of this. 

• He got to working with his folks and he was on hoot owl, that 
is, the other two shifts rotate between first and second while 
hoot owl is a fixed shift. This supervisor could never adjust 
and kept wanting to get off the shift. All of a sudden, his 
group which was always in third place, started getting on the 
band wagon, and started working together, and they are now 

the best, and now I can't get him off the shift. He is enthused; 
he is cranked and I've never, ever seen this. I mean the 
supervisors when they first came down they looked like a 
bunch of wet puppies, but now some of them are actually 
supervising and actually managing and having an impact on 
what goes on and that's fun when you see that happen. 

Reward and Recognition 

Ed and Bill took every opportunity to reinforce positive 
behavior that they were striving to instill in their managers. As the 
statement below indicates, they appear to take actions that achieve 

• We do give them a chance to showcase their talents and to get 
some kudos in recognition. 

Understanding Organizational Dynamics 

The next statement seems to indicate Ed's understanding of 
some of the organizational dynamics that were taking place in the 
plant. This statement refers to the behavior of former top 
management at the plant and Ed's view of their behavior. These top 
managers were later replaced by middle level managers who proved 
their ability to manage and lead the facility. 

• The top management group certainly struggled with the 
installation of the new equipment. It took them longer than 
it should, they over ran their costs, there were cases where 
rather than knowing to ask for help it became a pig headed 
matter of pride, that I'm going to do it and I'm not going to 

ask those guys up North for help. In some cases, it was 
literally foolhardy to meet a commitment to turn the 
equipment on when safety system controls were not tested to 
validate that they do what they're supposed to do. They were 
more concerned about getting this thing working by that time 
and they were going to do it. In retrospect, in seeing what 
happened afterwards, that was not a good, sound business 
decision. While there's always pressures on deadlines and 
dates, safety in doing things the right way has to take 
The statements below show both Ed's awareness and his 
approach in dealing with complex dynamics that greatly hindered 
needed communication. The first paragraph is an explanation of the 
situation as Ed found it when he first came down to the plant. 

Traditionally, manufacturing groups did not work together. 
There was literally a large curtain separating two ends of the 
manufacturing process. I learned that you had better not try to tell 
workers on the other side of the curtain what to do or how to do it. 
In addition, supervisors were reluctant to manage the manufacturing 
process, to step in and give orders. 

♦ So they started getting the message. I asked them what 

happens when you have a quality problem on the line? They 
responded that nobody ever listens to them. Guess what 
guys, I'm going to put a bell on the end of that buzzer that's 
going to be a horrible alarm that's going to sound like no 
other alarm in the business. When that alarm goes off I don't 

want to hear anyone say they don't know there is a quality 
problem because I've been there a number of times at 5:00 pm, 
when management all leaves, and I find out an hour later 
there was bad product coming through the factory and all the 
talent to solve it has left. So now we have this horrendous 
horn that goes off the second we start to see bad product 
coming off the backend, they fix it, the inspectors are up 
working with the supervisors on the front end just the way a 
company should work, how people should interact and when 
you start looking at each of the elements. 

Understanding People in Organizations 

Another theme that was frequently mentioned not only by Ed, 
but in many of my conversations with personnel at the plant, was 
respect for workers. My conversations with managers Mike and 
Larry during my site visit repeatedly reinforced this theme. They 
said that previous management seemed to go out of their way to 
demonstrate a lack of respect for, not only workers, but also other 

Ed is keenly aware of this and his management and leadership 
style demonstrates his understanding of this need. In many ways, 
he shows respect for managers and workers alike. Ed's and Bill's 
behaviors demonstrate their respect. For example, they are very 
good listeners, carefully listening to what others say and mean. They 
reach out to include others in the decision-making process. They and 
others say that when they make a promise, they fulfill that promise. 

The next statement demonstrates Ed's thinking about his 
understanding of what workers need in organizations and his 
feelings about being able to help those workers from his 
management position. Additional discussion on this topic will be 
found in the Self Perception category. 

• You had people there [in a former company he led in another 
poor rural location] who literally were below the poverty line 
even though both husband and wife were working. It's like a 
bad country and western song; 1 mean the first day I was there 
one of the ladies' sons-in-law choked during dinner and died 
of a chicken bone in his throat. It was literally just one 
disaster after another. And these people were just picked on 
all their lives and I mean, this is going to sound bizarre, but 
just being there, treating them as human beings, turning that 
plant around, treating them with dignity and respect was very 
meaningful for me. 

Ed appears to understand what workers need in order for them 
to perform well in their jobs. He takes a hand-on approach in 
demonstrating the kinds of behavior he expects from the supervisors 
and works with supervisors to create learning experiences that have 
lasting impacts on them. 

• [In response to the question on how he got supervisors to 
improve their management skills] Train them, show them 
how to supervise, you can't leave, you must hang over them, 
work with them. You know one of the things that's funny 

when we really empowered the supervisors. Bill came up 
with the concept of center of the universe, which is what I've 
always told sales and marketing operations, 'we're the center 
of the universe. ' So, we made these guys think they were the 
center of the universe and everybody in this building worked 
for them. What do you need, what do you need to do? Why 
is this stuff coming out bad? And Bill had a good QC [quality 
control] analogy. He asked the supervisors, 'What do you do? 
Well, we look at the stuff coming off the back of the belt and 
then we try to determine what's gone wrong?' And of course 
they fell right into our hands. So Bill says to them, 'When 
your car isn't running right do you usually look up the 
exhaust pipe to see what's wrong with the engine?' 
Ed was demonstrating that supervisors need to go to the 

source, not the symptons of problems. 

Ed seems to have keen insight into human nature which is 

demonstrated by the way he deals with people and his sensitivity to 

other's problems as the statement below indicates. 

• I think probably in the last 5 or 6 months when we have really 
been focusing on the supervisors, and 1 mean the guy on third 
shift, is kind of a rough looking character with a cigar hanging 
out of one side of his mouth and occasionally his tongue 
hanging out the other, and he's kind of a bulldog, and a heart 
of gold, but I mean you can tell he was always running against 
the tide and then all of a sudden he got with it. 

Nature of Planned Organizational Change 

Perception of Change 

Ed mentions that some critical manufacturing numbers have 
shown marked improvement as indicated below. However, in 
interviews with Mike and Larry, they state that far more has 
changed. The entire working environment has changed, according to 
Mike and Larry, for the better. They relate that the site is fun to 
work in now, people are treated with dignity and respect, and the 
results are profitable. 

• So we made some pretty dramatic results, I mean in the first 
year we lowered product cost by about 15% over what it had 
been and in the last two months we literally have been 
running 15%-20% better than that. 

Understanding Leadership and Management 

A critical concern of Ed's is to develop local leadership to take 
over operations at the plant, and to free him from hands-on daily 
operations. When Ed joined the company, local management at the 
plant was unable to operate effectively as the following statement 

• I had hoped that more of the managers would grow further in 
their positions. I think sometimes there's a fear that people 
hold back things or look at me to be the change agent versus 
the local management. It's hard in a remote location to find 
truly good managers that not only know the industry, which 
is somewhat important, you need to have a few people who 

know that, but that really know how to plan and execute, that 
really believe that this is the right way to manage versus this 
is what the guys from up North want and therefore, this is 
what were doing. 

Ed demonstrates his understanding of management and 
leadership in the following statements. In the first statement, Ed 
realizes that he must continue to run operations because no local 
managers have yet developed the necessary skills to do so. 

• We didn't see any true leadership evolve in the two to three 
positions that it could have evolved in, so to an extent I am 
still very hands-on, and even though I'm up here probably 
two thirds of the month and down there one third of the 

• We identified three or four managers that are kind of one 
level down that are going to be the future of that organization. 

The problem is the next level up, the people making $50,00- 
$60,000, $70,000 really aren't as proactive as we want them to 
be; they don't take a true leadership role and certainly their 
planning and execution skills aren't where they need to be. 
This is the level of management that was replaced when he 
saw, that despite his coaching, they had not changed. They were 
replaced by Mike and Larry who had been middle level managers in 
the plant. 

• I have to keep a fairly strong hand and probably to some 
extent micro-manage people a lot more than I like to do in 


terms of my style. You can't say here's the vision guys, here's 
where were headed, go get there, you've actually got to walk 
them each step of the way and did you do this, why did that 
shp hke this. Not only set the expectations, but do every bit of 
checking to make sure the expectations are executed in both 
performance level and in terms of how you want people to 
act, how you want them to manage and supervise. 

• When you're in an environment where the company is 
shrinking for ten years and the way you survive is to keep 
your head below the horizon so that nobody takes a shot at it, 
you don't end up with a crisp organization, you don't end up 
with people that make decisions, and there's so many 
decisions in this company that had been made by default, and 
you know in many cases the only bad decision is no decision 
at all. So I think to a large extent that the owners wanted Bill 
and me because of how we worked together in the past, and 
hopefully would have some kind of rub off effect as we turned 
this company into the kind of organization he wants it to be. 

• [In response to the question, 'What did you see was local 
management's role in this turn around? What did you want 
their role to be?'] Initially very secondary, we came to 
understand more and more, that even the supervisors were 
part of the problem. And I think a lot of that came out of the 
fact that they really had no training and they really didn't 
have any support. 

When Ed first came on board, he readily perceived how the 
way local management treated the workers negatively impacted 

• When they were confronted by a fellow union member, the 
easiest gut reaction was to say. If you don't cut tliis out we'll 
bring in some more of this stuff from Mexico,' and they really 
knew how to rub salt in their wounds more so than be true 

Local management seemed to have lost control of their plant. 
Ed related stories of workers committing physical and mental abuse 
on their supervisors. Ed quickly took steps to change this situation 
as demonstrated below. 

• Managers were intimidated, and while we were somewhat 
good Joe's, we certainly drew the line and let them know that 
insubordination won't be tolerated. 'Any supervisor that gets 
threatened or sworn at, you're out of here on your head. ' We 
did have trouble makers, people knew who they were; we 
went after them; we got them; they are out. 

The following statements indicate the extent to which Ed 
needed to be involved with managing and training the new local 
management. Normally, the senior vice president doesn't get 
involved in day-to-day operations, but Ed seems to realize this was 
the only way to turn the plant around. 


Eventually we started working directly with the supervisors. I 
mean for instance, this Fall when we came out of this 
equipment project, which not only cost more money but kind 
of slowed the whole place down. We really needed to set the 
performance expectations for the group, what we're going to 
do, how we're going to do it, how we want to look at yield, 
how do we want to look at down time, how are we going to 
measure it, let's set some goals for ourselves, let's put some 
charts up on the board, let's track daily production, what is the 
goal, how are we going to go about doing this? What if we pay 
one guy on the team money to come in for a half hour early to 
get that machinery ready will that cut down the time rather 
than have the rest of the guys sit around with a cigarette? 

Certainly the setting of expectations and challenging the group 
are still largely a role that Bill and me define and then we 
work hard through the managers to make sure that 
performance reviews truly reflect performance. 'No, 1 don't 
want to hear that he's a good guy; tell me why you're always 
in third place when the other two shifts are ahead of you.' 
That's what I want to see in the performance review. We just 
made an effort at personally working through the supervisors 
in terms of kind of setting the expectations and having key 
management meetings three or four times a year. 'Okay, in 
October here's what were going to do and this is October 1, and 
here's where I want to be by the end of October. Oh by the way, 
the president is coming down on November 1, and you're 

going to do a presentation, I'm just faxing him up these goals 
now, let's make sure we get there okay? And I know you 
haven't done a presentation before, let me tell you how to talk 
about it.' So I rehearse them and I bring them through it. 

• We've got to get the supervisors and managers to think, 
anticipate, improve quality and production. We say to them, 
'Okay, let's look at downtime, lets look at productivity, let's 
look at yield, and let's make a game plan for each of these. 
What do you need to see, supervisors?' I mean, the 
supervisors didn't know how much was being lost to bad 
materials, how much was lost to raw specifications; they just 
didn't know. They just said, 'I lost 10%. Okay, lets break that 
10% down. Can we do that? Let's examine down time; how 
much of it is truly set up versus equipment failure.' And 
then we set up challenges for the maintenance crew. 'I don't 
care if you have 300-400 pound machines. I don't want to be 
up and running in 20 minutes; I want to be up and running in 
ten minutes and next year let's figure out how to be up and 
running in five minutes, in shift change. How do you 
anticipate that and how are you going to change it, how are 
you going stage the stuff so one team rolls out while the other 
rolls in?' 

• I think we worked real hard at that relationship. I think we 
work real hard at making sure that local management at times 
doesn't screw it up. I mean there was just a tremendous 
fascination prior to Bill and me coming in with the union 

contract. 'Well, we can't do this because of the contract,' to 
the point where the managers were more interested in 
managing the contract then they were managing the facility 
and we said, 'Let's manage the facility, don't worry about the 
contract. If shit comes up the president will handle it.' And 
the bottom line is when we started doing that, then a lot less 
shit came up. 

Understanding Resistance 

The following two statements demonstrate Ed's understanding 
of people in organizations when dealing with resistance. 

• There is still some resistance. Some people try to beat you 
because you're management, or you're union, let me see if I 
can twist the rules a little bit. 'Never mind with the language 
of the contract you guys. You know this isn't right and we're 
being square with you.' We've had some good give and take 
outside of the guidelines of the contract. We had a guy dead 
to rights to fire him. He's a pretty good guy and we don't 
want to prove a point, so we go out of our way to show that 
we've gone more than half way in terms of helping them out. 
So we kind of build a bank of lOU's and use them when we 
have to. 

• We share most of the challenges of the business with the 
executive committee of the union. We talk about the fun and 
games stuff, schmooze them about the outing this year, 'Okay 
now, let's get down to hard tacks.' 


Understanding the Need for Teamwork 

In many of the statements that Ed makes, he indicates his 
understanding that all the people in the plant need to work together 
as a team in order to succeed. In particular, the message that 
workers and management need to operate as a team is clear. 

Self Perception 
Ed demonstrates sensitivity and feeling for the conditions of his 
fellow human beings. He demonstrates his understanding that in his 
position he has the opportunity to help change people's lives for the 

• ... these people were just picked on all their lives and I mean, 
this is going to sound bizarre, but just being there, treating 
them as human beings, turning that plant around, treating 
them with dignity and respect. I felt like Saddam Hussein; 
they had posters of my head up all over that factory. I still get 
three or four letters every six months or so from different 
people telling me how I changed their lives. To me it wasn't 
anything other than how I always treated people. 



Mike has worked for this manufacturing company for many 
years having started as an hourly worker and eventually moving up 
to his current position of manager of the plant facilities. During his 
tenure at this manufacturing company Mike has held almost every 
position connected with the manufacturing process that an hourly 
worker could hold. 

Mike enjoys his work and the challenges associated with it. 
While I was visiting the plant, Mike showed me how he is using 
computers to regulate precisely certain machinery in the 
manufacturing process. He also hooked his home computer up to 
these machines so that he could monitor them on his off hours. 

Mike is proud of his accompUshments. In spite of having little 
education, he has progressed steadily into more responsible 
positions. When Ed [senior vice president and general manager] 
decided that the top level managers at the manufacturing facility 
would not work out, Mike, along with Larry, were promoted into 
those positions. 

Mike has strong feelings about the dignity of working people 
and their positive contributions to an enterprise. If management 
would only allow workers to utilize their skills, experience, and 
knowledge, they would add significant value to their company. By 
treating workers with dignity and respect, management will discover 
that they have a loyal and committed workforce. 

The Nature of Organizations 

Mike did not directly discuss an understanding of management 
planning or organizational systems and processes. 

The Nature of People in Organizations 

Need for Achievement 

Mike makes statements that demonstrate he believes people 
need challenges and achievement in their lives. He seems to believe 
that achievement is an ongoing process particularly in 

• You have to have new goals. The goals for this year are not 
going to be the same as the goals for next year. I think your 
goals should always become harder. Hopefully our goals for 
next year are higher, our standards are higher, because no 
matter what you do in the manufacturing process there is 
always somewhere of making it a little bit better. It may get to 
the point where, you are wasting resources trying to make it 
better. Then that is another decision that a person in that 
position has to make. He has to make the decision does it 
make good sense for us, can we make it better, are we going to 
spend X amount of money to do it because 10 pieces won't pay 
for it. Someone has to be, someone has to be the set of eyes 
that is looldng, actually asking those questions. 
Mike relates his own achievement of rising to the top 
management in the facility. 


• I held several jobs, then went into the mechanics position 
with no background and I was actually raised in a machine 
shop. In the machine shop you can actually teach yourself. I 
went from the mechanics position to an R& D position. I've 
been involved with basically everything out on the plant 
floor. Now I'm in charge of facilities, meaning basically 
anything to do with the plant other than the people 
themselves. If it's mechanical, if it doesn't walk out of here in 
the evenings, I'm responsible for it. 

Understanding People in Organizations 

In the statements below, Mike shares some of his 
understandings and beliefs about people in the workplace. These 
topics include the need people have, according to Mike, to invest 
their working lives into something that's going to endure, and a place 
where their jobs are secure. Another topic involves the workers' 
feelings of attachment and loyalty for their company. 

• You know, no one wants to go to a job everyday and have that 
job fail after they have worked there 20 years. People want to 
know that the work place is going to be there. A place from 
which they can retire someday. You know people actually 
look at it that way. People want the security. 

• These peoples' hearts were not with the outside management 
group. Their hearts were with this manufacturing company 

and from what I remember, a lot of people were asking, 'What 
did we do wrong?' I've actually been asked, 'What did we do 
wrong for this manufacturing company? You know we tried 
our best.' 
Mike's statement below seems to demonstrate the depth of 
feeling these workers have and how personally they take events in 
their workplace. 

• No one ever explained anything to the workers, that either 
they did something wrong or they didn't do something right. 

When you don't tell and something drastic takes place and no 
one explains to you why that change is taking place, people 
just assume that they did something wrong. 
A recurring theme in Mike's interview is the need workers 
have to be respected by management. Respect, according to Mike, 
involves being taken seriously by being participating in the running 
of the plant, problem solving, and decision-making. 

• People need to know that their opinions count. They need to 
know that they can give input and that input is actually 
listened to. Of course, not every input is good okay, not every 
idea is a good idea but if you don't listen to that person's idea 
for the rest of their lives they are going to think that they had 
a good idea but you didn't listen to them. You may listen to 
their idea and it may be something you might want to go 
with; you may listen to an idea and say I'll think about that 
and basically struggle with it because it's not really that good 
of an idea; you may take it to the team. Eventually, you bring 

these people's idea to light and come up with something. You 
may listen to the idea and immediately come to a point in 
minutes and immediately explain to that person that your 
glad that he gave you the information, these are the problems 
I see with it. I mean that's what they want to know, they just 
want to know that you listened. They work in this job every 
day; eight hours a day and I'm going to tell you right now that 
no one does the job better than the person doing it. 
In Mike's interview, he repeatedly brings up the new 
managers' (Ed, Bill, and the president) style of leading the 
organization. According to Mike, this style and approach of dealing 
with people closely fit the workers needs as demonstrated in the 
statement below. 

• When the president came over it was instantaneous. These 
people were so happy it was like hooray we are safe, we are 
needed by someone. They were given the opportunity to 
voice their opinions. Ed and Bill, and the president walked 
the floor; they got out there and they talked to people. These 
people were not used to that; the people over in the office 
[under the old management] were in the office and we were 
out here. They were not used to having top management 
walk out on the floor and extend his hand and have a regular 
conversation with them, instead of talking from behind the 
speakers or a microphone and saying that this is what's 
happening, I'm here this month, this is what I want to tell 

you, and walk away from the microphone and no one ever 
gets to ask him questions. 
Mike seems to believe that worker commitment is vital for a 
company's success. Commitment is seen by Mike to be reciprocal; 
workers "go the extra mile," put in the extra time and energy and the 
company in turn, commits to long term strategies to keep the 
business operating as demonstrated in the next two statements. 

• Commitment comes into everything. If the company asks 
you to do something and you don't feel that the company 
committed to backing you or that you feel why am I doing 
this because they're not going to be here next year, why am I 
wasting my time, I am not going to get your full potential. If I 
ask, 'hey can you help me do something,' and you have these 
feelings that I am not going to be here for the long haul, are 
you going to give it 100 percent effort, or are you going to do it 
just enough to get by? 

• It's human nature. People have to know that they are 
building something that is going to last. They have to know 
that they are not wasting their time and that the work that 
they are doing is striving towards a goal. I mean everyone 
works thinking that they are making it better. I mean you 
wouldn't want to if you knew tomorrow was the last day you 
were going to be here. Would you come in today and work 
the hardest that you ever worked since you ever came here? 

Mike again, in the statement below, emphasizes the need for 
management to involve workers in the operations of the enterprise, 
in this example, by listening to workers' ideas and suggestions and 
trusting that they know what's best for the company. 

• [In response to the question, 'So the message to management, 
organizational leaders is what then?'] Listen to what the 
workers want to tell you. No one knows how to do their job 
better than the person you asked to do it, because if that 
person doesn't know how to do the job you don't need them 
there to begin with. If you are trusting that person to do a job 
for you, you should be having enough faith in that person to 
know that that person is doing the job to the best of their 
ability. If you don't want to listen to the opinions of those 
people, don't want to know what that person has to say about 
doing that job better for you, shame on you. 

View of Ed 

• Ed is a great person to listen and I think that he absorbs 
everything that the team around him, gives him, and he is 
not afraid to instantaneously or after gathering all the 
irvformation came back to you and say, 'Okay you told me this 
and now I found out that it is not so.' or, he is not afraid to 
come back and say, 'You told me this, I wasn't sure of it, but 
you are right. 

The Nature of Planned Organizational Change 

Perception of Change 

In the following two statements, Mike perceives significant 
changes have occurred since Ed and the new management team took 
over. These changes involve improved communications between 
management and labor, less antagonism and conflict, as well as 
better production numbers. 

• We are pretty much on a first name basis with all of our 
employees and everyone knows that they can actually walk up 
to us and tell us they have a problem with this or that or wait 
until the end of the week and bring it up a meeting. I mean 
they can walk up to you and say, 'I've got a problem.' And 
they know if the problem has merit, it will be resolved. 

• I think that the attitude here now is a lot more relaxed. Look 
at some of our production numbers or reject rates in the last 
two months. The conditions have improved. Conflict has 
pretty much dissipated. I think it is pretty good. I can't ever 
remember it being like and I've been here since 1985. I mean 
people will come up to you, sit down, and talk to you about 
things that either involve the facility or have nothing to do 
with this place, but they are comfortable enough to come up 
and talk to you. 

Understanding Innovation 

In the statement below, Mike demonstrates his understanding 
of the innovative process, particularly about the need for stimulation 
to compete successfully. 

• If you are engulfed in your own environment and kept to a 
point where there are few challenges, and if you are not 
challenged you are not going to try new projects, you are not 
going to try new products, and you are not going to try to 
better yourself compared to the rest of the world. If no one 
asks you to better the Japans, to better the Chinas to be better 
than the whole world, if no one says, 'Guys we need to be 
better than them,' you are going to assume that you are 
already better than them right and you are never going to get 

Understanding Leadership and Management 

In the following three statements, Mike describes previous 
management's behavior and the impact it had not only on the 
workers, but also on manufacturing operations. 

• They [previous managers who were brought in to manage the 
plant] came down basically to talk to existing management, 
weed people out, put their own accountants in, people that 
had been here for years doing jobs were gone, and they did it 
more or less over night. Their approach was whatever you 
were doing before was wrong because we are here now and 
this is the way it is going to be done. 


• This place seemed, in the years past, to be run basically like a 
dictatorship. It was management that made the decisions. I 
don't care if 50 people on the floor said okay we can do that 
but it would easier to do it this way. There was a lot of 
distrust between the work force and management. 

• The workers thought they were being ripped off [by the former 
management group] and it snowballed into attitudes that 
seriously affected production. It really hurts you when you 
need someone to go the extra miles. It's tough when you 
need some help or some input and you don't receive it. If you 
had a better working relationship with the crew who could 
come up and talk to you about getting the job done. Some 
times the workers don't see things that could go wrong that 
would hurt production. It's the workers way of being 
vindictive. I don't think they were intentionally doing things 
to hurt the place okay, it was their way of saying, 'Wake up 
you guys. We have a part here you know we are important.' 

In the next statement, Mike indicates his view of the 
importance of the workers. 

• I think the management in this manufacturing company 
takes into consideration the people. We need those skilled 
people just as much as we need natural gas, or water, or 
electric heat. You could have every piece of up to date 
equipment; you could have everything you need to make the 
ultimate factory; if you don't have the skills to use that 

equipment you have nothing but a warehouse full of 

Understanding Communication 

Mike frequently brings into his interview the importance of 
communication. He seems to believe that good communication is a 
simple concept to understand and gain payback from. 

• Everything to gain, everything to gain, I mean what is there to 
lose? You know the time you took to listen is the only thing 
you have to lose. 

Understanding the Need for Team Work 

In the following two statements, Mike demonstrates his 
understanding of the importance of teamwork. Mike seems to view 
teamwork as playing a large part of a company's success or failure. 

• You know if you look at small companies they all started as a 
small team of people. The larger companies started out with 
one or two people in a team as Microsoft did. This company 
started out with a hand full of people who had an idea. They 
worked together in a team concept and brought other people 
in. Early on they realized that no one person has the answer 
to everything. 

• I think a lot of what happened was that the people who 
founded a lot of companies started them because they had the 
attitude that they had tried to make it in the big companies; 

they tried to talk to management there, but no one listened to 
their ideas. The ones that originally started out with the team 
concept, who had the open ear to listen to their employees; 
they are the ones that are surviving. 

Understanding Ed's Role 

This long statement of Mike's clearly indicates his view of an 
importance aspect of Ed's position in manufacturing. According to 
this statement of Mike's, Ed plays at least, two critical roles, one 
being the goal setter, and the other is bringing a fresh perspective to 
manufacturing operations. 

• [In response to the question, 'Is there a difference between you 
as a manager and Ed as a leader or how do you see it?' It's 
about control, mainly. His position comes down with goals, 
goals that need to be obtained. He is actually a communicator 
between the management here and the management at the 
main office. He is our liaison, so of speak, that fights the fires 
before they get started; lef s us know up front that this is what 
is happening and this is where we are going to be. For 
example, if I was in this room everyday of the year and those 
products up there [on the shelf in the interview room], those 
had become so common to me that half way through the year 
I am going to look at them the same old way. But Ed coming 
in with a new set of eyes might say why is that one piece green 
and I'm going to say what piece? Even though I am here 
everyday, even though I've seen it everyday it became 
commonplace to me. A person in Ed's position is a set of 


checks and balances so to of speak. Actually, he came in with 
a new set of eyes and asked the question, 'Why? You have 
done that for every year since the existence of this facility but 
why? Is that the right way of doing it?' He might point out to 
you that maybe you need to go back to look at that again 
because maybe the first one that made that decision 20 years 
ago was wrong. Are you sure that guy was right, you didn't 
even know him and you really don't know who made that 
decision and how do we know that it is a viable best decision 
for us. You have to have that in any facility. It is not what 
you want, to be engulfed in your own environment and 
basically smothered. You need someone every now and then 
to shake up the environment and say, 'Why is this like this? 
Why is it here? Why is it there?' Just so you take a second 
look at it. You may have this process that you never had any 
problem with, it has worked every day since the day you came 
here and Ed or someone in his position came in and said well 
why does it work like that? And that makes you think, why 
does it work like that right? And then you are not only 
thinking about that, your thinking like, for 20 years we did 
this and wouldn't it be a lot easier if we did it like this. It's that 
mentality that if it is not broke, don't fix it. Okay well if 
someone doesn't ask you, 'Is it broke or is it not broke?' you 
are never gonna think about it. You need someone to ask this 
question why is it like that, is that the way it needs to be, is 
there a way of getting it better and is that the best thing for us? 
If no one asks that question, then myself and everyone else at 


this facility is always going to be under the opinion that we are 
doing great all right. We don't need to do any better because 
we are doing the best that has ever been expected of us. But 
when you have someone that comes in and says, 'Can you do 
that?' My first thought has been to say, 'I didn't think that we 
were doing it wrong; I didn't know we needed to do it better. 
We can do it better if you ask, you we didn't know there was a 

Self Perception 

Ability to See From Others Point of View 

Having worked as an hourly employee, Mike seems to 
understand their needs. 

• I know what it is like to not be involved in the decision 
making and to be asked to live with the decisions that were 
made for you. 

Self Awareness 

Mike demonstrates his outspoken nature in working with 

• I am not a yes sir, no sir type of person. I will tell you up front 
if it is a good idea or a crummy idea, if it will work or it won't 
work. I am not one to say well maybe; I am not one to say, 'I'll 
get back to you.' I will tell you my initial opinion up front. 


[A former plant manager] asked us our opinion of his idea. 
The others said it was great, but when he got to me my exact 
words were, 'I think it sucks.' I'm thinking that is not what 
he wants to hear, if it is his idea it is a great idea. The others 
defended his idea, but the plan manager says, 'Wait a minute, 
I didn't walk all the way out of here from my office, for you to 
tell me what you think I want to hear.' He said I walked out 
here to get an opinion and if Mike thinks that my idea sucks I 
want to know why my idea sucks, because I didn't walk from 
my office out here to hear all of you agree with me. 'All 
right so why does my idea suck?' he said. And I pointed out 
that exactly what I thought of his idea, he agreed with me and 
it was never implemented. After that, any time he would 
have an idea he would come to me and know that I would flat 
out tell him what I think about it. 'Does it suck or does it not 
suck?' Those are the exact words he would use. Then when 
that outside management group came here I told them up 
front, 'Guys, I am the only person who won't beat around the 
bush. If you ask something of me and I feel that I can do it I'll 
tell you I can. If you ask and I don't feel that I am the person 
for the job, or I don't feel that I can do it, I am going to tell you 
right off the bat I can't do that or I don't think that it can be 
done.' And the reason for that is I think that people respect 
that. People don't want to hear, 'Yeah, I can do that, I can do 
that,' and six months later they say, 'Where is it at' and you're 
saying, 'Well, I am working on it' or 'I don't think that can be 
done.' You have already spent your time, their time, and 

their resources. They want to know up front. If you tell them 
I think it can be done, then you should be able to produce. If 
you tell them I don't think it can be done then the 
opportunity to either find other resources or an outside 
person or someone else who's qualified to do the job. You 
know I don't like to waste my time or anyone else's time 
taking on projects that I know up front either can't be done, or 
I don't have the job skills to do it. 

• I want to be able to give my opinion; how I feel. I want to 
know that if a decision is made that at least I've pointed out 
the ramifications of it and the problems that need to be 
solved. I don't want Ed ever to be able to come back to me and 
say, 'Mike, how the heck didn't you tell anyone that you 
wanted to do that, why didn't you give them your opinion, 
didn't you know that this was not a good idea,' or 'Didn't you 
know that this was a great idea that we didn't do.' 

• I don't think that anyone should trust anyone else with their 
future. I want to control my own destiny and my own future. 
I don't want someone else to make major decisions for me. 

Understands Own Role 

In the statements below, Mike indicates that he is clear on 
what his role is. He seems to feel that he is the expert on production 
matters because he knows all about it and can make decisions on 
what needs to be done to keep the production processes moving. 


• I think a lot of what helps me do my job is the fact that I been 
out on the floor, I started out at ground level and I know it 
takes to do those jobs. I know what all these people have to 
do because I went through the entire process. Something can 
be asked of me and I can immediately give a proper response. 
There are things that I know right off the bat that is going to 
disrupt the process flow and we may need to refine the process 
so that we won't disrupt the flow but still issue the same 
product that you need in a time frame that you need it. 

• My job is to see to it that we implement the set goals; what it is 
that we need to actually obtain those goals. I have to weigh 
the decisions of who are my employees that can take this 
project and obtain the goals for us. Maybe the decision is to 
accomplish the goals by using a vendor or contractor. Upper 
management sets the goals I have to decide how to get there. 
If we need to produce this item, what piece of equipment do I 
need? How can I do it efficiently enough that we have the 
least capital investment, the quickest pay back, and the least 
upset to the work force, so that the work is integrated 
smoothly and that the boss can take his production people, 
use the equipment that I came up with, use the process, and 
actually slide these people in. If we have an existing item that 
we have made for the past six months and I've been asked to 
make a new item I need to be able to make that new item 
without disrupting production of my existing item. 
Everything needs to flow nice and smooth and we need to 


plan that out, you have to weigh it all, what is the quantity, 
am I going to use the more utilities, am I going to need more 
equipment to do it, am I going to need more bodies in the 
plant to do it, can the equipment that I already have be 
changed around a little bit or we can modify to do the existing 
job and this new job that is coming in. 



Larry has worked seven years at this manufacturing company 
in supervisory, and presently, in management positions. He has 
worked in this industry his whole life, as did his father before him. 
Larry has experienced some difficult times at this plant when outside 
management took over and before the company was purchased by 
the current owners. 

Larry is a compassionate man, apparently gentle but firm in his 
management style. His stated mission in life is to preserve the jobs 
at his manufacturing plant for the current workers and to have jobs 
available for their children. In his interview, Larry focuses on the 
themes of showing workers respect, treating people right. 

Nature of Organizations 

Larry did not discuss an understanding of management 
planning or organizational systems and processes. However, he did 
indicate some knowledge of this category with the statement below. 

• We realized that customer service and quality standards are 
always very high even at that time they were unrealistically 
hiigh. Sometime when you look at producing a product you 
have to consider your manufacturing capabilities and I think 
that we are moving in that direction 

Nature of People in Organizations 

Understanding the Need for Rewards and Recognition 

Larry demonstrates an understanding of the need to reward 
workers and recognize their contributions to the business as in the 
statement below. 

• Our productivity is a lot higher and we have the people with 
the skills and the abihty to do these jobs. However, if they are 
not going to be treated fairly, they have the tendency to lay 
down [their work]. Everybody wants to be recognized for 
contributing. If you don't do that, thaf s what these guys will 
do. You know we are all giving credit where it is due. I post 
on the board out there everyday the percentages. I post the 
year to date, I post the month to day and we are all informed 
and we get our little message there when we do real well. 

Understanding What Makes People Tick 

Larry seems to understand what people need in order for 
management to gain the cooperation and commitment of the workers 
in the plant. The statements following represent the theme of 
respect and trust that predominates this interview. 

• It means a lot to the people, the trust. That was never there 
under the former owners or under the outside management 
regime and I believe that right now the morale is best it has 
ever been here. 

• People have confidence in upper management. 

Understanding People in Organizations 
In the following statements Larry further demonstrates his 
understanding of actions that management can take to build 
confidence and trust between management and labor. In this case, 
management took the following actions to earn the workers' respect. 
They apparently accomplished this through using good 
communications, demonstrating an understanding for people's 
feelings, and being honest and forthright in their dealings with them. 

• [ In response to the question, 'You said that people's attitudes 
are better; you said that morale has never been higher that 
there is trust. What specifically did they do to make that 
happen?'] They did several things. They came down and we 
set up a big grill for fried hamburgers for everybody in the 
plant and they shook hands with people and talked to people 
and listened. I think that is the biggest part of 
communicating. You know a lot of managers they just give 
lip service for communicating , they don't hsten and they 
really don't give you any information. Well these guys shared 
the information they had. They were not afraid. 

• This plant was owned by and I just had the feeling that 

they really didn't know that this plant existed. To them we 
were just an entity for a tax write off. 

• We just told the guy that, how people felt, that there was no 
trust, no trust at all. I've got to tell you the guy seemed to be 


a reasonable guy and I thought he had potential to do well 
here and to turn the facility around. 

• We have to look at these people and recognize their 
contribution and so we went into negotiations two years ago 
and we negotiated right up to the contract deadline which was 
May first. We made some concessions and listened to the 
union people and I can see that we were building trust almost 
daily. In fact, the first couple of days they were antagonistic. 
They were ready to fight. They had been slapped in the face 
before and they had been on strike two times in a row. They 
were just looking for a fight and you just knew that they were 
thinking, 'you want to get your hands in my pockets and I'm 
not going to let you do that. You're going to try to treat me 
less than a valuable contributing human being and I'm not 
going to let you do that.' But as we went along in a week to 
ten days we started to have good communications, good 
constructive communication. They understood that we had 
our hands on top of the table, we were listening, and we 
wanted to make it better here. 

• We have to go back to that person who has that problem and 
explain those reasons, not just because I am management and 
you are not, in other words, people just don't want to hear 
that you know, when they look at you they want to see 
themselves in management and they do not want to see a lot 
of unpleasantness. They don't want to see a lot of surly 
bunch of guys running around out there 'bull of the woods 

types,' shoving around and yelling and that's not the way to 

do it. Not that I never yell, I do, sometimes. 

• Sometimes we do things wrong, we make mistakes and we 
have union grievances. People are sometimes unhappy and 
attitudes are not always the best. We have a lot of 14 year old 
attitudes running around out here in 40 year old bodies. 

Seriously, I am dead serious about that. 

• We have more respect for the people and in return, I believe 
that they are going to have more respect for us. Not only the 
guys who come down every week to visit us like Bill and Ed 
and occasionally the president but respect for the other people 
in management too. 

Nature of Planned Organizational Change 

Perception of Change 

Larry perceives that change for the better has occurred in the 
last couple of years since his company was purchased. He notes that 
attitudes have markedly changed toward management and 
production and quality has risen significantly. 

• I think if you went out on the floor and ask anybody about any 
of those three guys that we talked about, there wouldn't be a 
bad word. Not one out of the whole plant. 

• [In response to the question if all of these changes have 
resulted in profits] Oh yes, definitely. These changes have 
been a motivating factor for the worker, although its not as if 

we have no more problems. Last year was a tough year 
because we rebuilt a tank and then installed some major 
equipment. While we were doing those things, our 
productivity wasn't good. I'm looking forward to '98 and I 
think it is going to be a better year for this facility. 

• Our productivity went sky high, our losses went way down. I 
am still amazed by this, I really am. I am in a position where I 
am responsible on both ends now. At that time I was only 
responsible for the finishing end but now I am responsible for 
both ends, I have the manufacturing part too. That has been 
very interesting for me and one of the first things when I sat 
down with the finishing foreman, I said, 'no matter where I 
am at, or no matter where I go, or what I do, don't ever change 
what you are doing. Keep going at it, because those guys need 
you out there, it is very important.' I am a firm believer in 
the changes that happened. 

Understanding the Need for Team Work 

Larry apparently recognizes the need for team work. He seems 
to believe that by people working together, problems and issues can 
be resolved. One of the benefits to this approach that Larry 
mentions is inclusionary in nature, that is, worker participation 
results in commitment and an investment in success of the 


• I think we are getting a team together here, it takes a while to 
get the right players and to get them in the right positions and 
get them to play together. 

• I think invariably, if you get a group of people together on the 
problem, although they may have biases or it may confhct 
with their values in some ways, the bottom line is, if they talk 
it out and there is a clear cut answer, they will all arrive at that 
answer and will all agree on it. I really believe that, I mean 
people are natural problem solvers, if they're given the 

Understanding Leadership and Management 

Larry appears to have a strong understanding of how to 
manage a work force, and discusses actions that he and other 
managers have taken that demonstrate this. He clearly 
distinguishes between management approaches that are non 
productive and those that engage the work force in positive ways. 

• We were just outcasts. We weren't really a part of the 
corporation, that's a definite, and we got a plant manager who 
pitted these people against each other. His philosophy was the 
stand up meeting every morning, 15 minute meeting which 
used to take 45, we all stood, and for those 45 minutes, we 
blamed all the problems on someone else for everything that 
occurred. 1 mean that was his philosophy that he pitted one 
person, or one group, against another group thinking that was 

the way that everything would work out. Well, I could see 
right away, that this was not a good philosophy. 

Management can have a profound impact on the work 
environment both in positive and negative ways according to Larry. 
In the statement below, he describes an action that the president of 
his company took that was very meaningful to him. 

• These guys are kind of relaxed, have a natural atmosphere 
about them, and their personalities. Bill is a little outgoing 
and Ed is laid back and kind of low key so those guys kind of 
balance each other out. And of course, the president's just one 
hell of a nice guy. With a guy in his position and has done 
the things that he has done, he is a great guy. I want to tell 
you that after union negotiations successfully concluded, it 
probably has nothing to do with what you want to hear, but at 
Christmas time I received a nice card hand written from the 
president, saying he appreciated my efforts and saying that 
they had made a donation to Children's Aid in my name. 
Yeah, believe me, that is one of the most cherished Christmas 
cards that I have ever received. 

• What they did, at least twice now, is they rented four or five 
buses. Everyone that wanted to volunteer, gave them the day 
off and paid them, they took them to a minor league baseball 
game, out for dinner for a steak and salad, and a beer. Ed and 
Bill went with them or at least flew down and met them 
there. We all sat in the bleachers together and cheered on the 
Ally Cats, You know they were right there mingling and 


making people feel part of the corporation. I just don't think 
you can beat that approach. 

• [In response to the question of how Ed's management style 
has impacted his own style, Larry stated] It kind of gave me an 
opportunity to take a more human approach to it. I mean 
that's what I've always done, but under the other 
management system we had, it was very difficult to do that 
because there was no trust at all, not even for me although, I 
tried to be a straight shooter. There just wasn't the trust. You 
know they didn't allow me the freedom to manage in my 
style. These guys are managers themselves and they know 
what to do. They ask questions and they play the devil's 
advocate and they you know pick things to pieces and 
sometimes it irritates the hell out of me. But by the same 
token, I can understand where they're coming from. Ed wants 
to make you think of all the angles. When you are making a 
decision you've got to have everything in order; you've got 
know what you are doing. That's very important. 

• I remember that term, "bull-of-the-woods" from way back and 
you don't hear very much of that term anymore but I think 
that underneath that kind of philosophy workers would say, 
'just tell me what to do and I will do it, don't make me try to 
make guesses or anything like that, just tell me what to do 
and I'll do it' 


• My father spent all his life in this industry. Forty some years, 
but he became a supervisor during the great depression and 
he would go down there and pick his people at the gate 
because he didn't have many union leaders and no seniority. 
He was chosen as a foreman I'm sure, because he was a great 
big guy my dad was, a huge man. I think that they considered, 
back in those days, that you had to be able to beat guys up. 
Today, you do not have to do that and you want to be very 
careful not to beat them up mentally either. It just doesn't 
work that way, you loose a lot if you try to be overbearing. 
Like I said that doesn't mean you can't intimidate once in a 
while because sometimes you just, you know, you have to lay 
it out there, you have to lay it out there. But by and large if 
you sit down and discuss the problem you are going to find 
the answer and they are going to find it for you. 

• You know the president's slogan is 'do the right thing,' do the 
right thing for the company, if you are in doubt go back to 
number 1, do the right thing. It is very impressive and very 
important and very important to me that I am able to do that, 
I was not able to do that before under previous management. 

• Oh God yeah, I don't have many grievances. That is one of 
the things that I was doing was answering second step 
grievances for the old management. After the contract there 
were a few. There are still a few here and there and 
sometimes we miss a call in or we work a younger guy in a 
place, we miss this guy over here, it happens and when we do 

that we make it right. But we don't play games. If we owe a 
guy a day's pay we pay him. I mean that's what we should do. 
I mean why draw it out and cheat them. That was happening 
before too you know; they would drag these things out 
forever. But it doesn't happen now. We are not paying that 
much but still it is the honest thing to do. 

• Most of my management techniques are to work with people 
in solving their problems. The worker probably knows the 
answer. He probably knows how to solve it. We will bat it 
back and forth until he comes up with a solution. He feels 
better about it and it you know I want to give the employees 
the opportunity to have some say. I don't always want to call 
all the shots. I just want to be there to support the effort of 
these workers. 

Self Perception 

Self Awareness 

Larry demonstrates in the following three statements his 
awareness of what is important to him about his work and about his 
company. First, having the opportunity to "prove to himself," to 
accomplish something important involving his work; second, securing 
jobs for current and future workers; third, having pride about his 
expertise; and finally, being able to work in a climate where he can 
be himself and manage in a way that is constructive, not destructive. 

• It's great. So you know, I'm a very happy that I'm part of this 
[company] and will be for a while longer anyway. I am going 


to retire but I have an opportunity here to prove to myself 
that I can do some things and also make these jobs secure and 
continue to keep them secure, that is very important to me. 
After being in a facility where they said the jobs were not 
secure, it is important that I do everything I can to solidify the 
positions of these people. 

• It has to be the one perfect piece of ; personally I see flaws 

that no one else would see. 

• It was a very, very unhealthy place to work [under the 
previous owners]. I thought that I had to get out of here. It 
was just so bad that I was being pushed into brow beating 
people. I'd be with the guy who ran the plant and a worker 
would walk up to him and would pose a problem and he 
would say, 'well thanks we'll look into that.' After the guy 
would walk away he would say to me, 'get rid of that guy, see 
what you can do to get that guy out of here.' You know I 
would never do that, but that was the kind of thing I was 
feeling pressure about, and I wasn't very happy about it. But 
at my age I am going to stick it out and see what happens and 
then this turn around with this new group coming in here 
and everything just seemed to get better and better. They 
made some management changes and just at the first of the 
year or so they made some more changes. My position is 
different now, it's changed and hopefully they're gonna use 
me in the best possible way and I'm gonna be able to think 
again. It makes a big difference to me. 

Philosophy of Living 

Larry frequently brings in his interview his desire to help 
others. That help involves providing workers with an opportunity to 
gain, in Maslow's terms, "self actualization" in their work and in their 
lives; to have a good place to work that is secure for themselves and 
their children. 

• I come in early because I want to see the people on the late 
shift, I want to see not only the supervisor but I want to see 
those people. I want them to be able to bounce things off of 
me or give me a chance to support them if I can in some way, 
not only to be better at their jobs but just to be better period. 
You know that is my philosophy and like I said it is a change 
for them and I think it is going to work and I am going to 
prove it to them. 

• Well I don't know, you know, I've spent my life in this 
business and as you can see, I never go into a department store 
with my wife that I don't disappear and she knows which 
department I'm in. If I am in a restaurant I am looking at 

, or the , or the you know whatever, it is just my life. 

I ramble on and on but it means a lot to me, particularly here, 
to see that these jobs will be here and it is just like what I tell 
the people on the floor you know, if your children want to 
work here I want these jobs to be here for them. 



The senior vice president for manufacturing, Ed and the two 
manufacturing managers, Mike and Larry all perceive the past and 
present situation and conditions very similarly. They all stress 
sensitivity to others and demonstrating respect as the key elements 
to quality and productivity that they all are working hard to achieve. 
They all agree with the perception that the manufacturing plant has 
undergone positive transformational change. 

The Nature of Organizations 
None of the interviewees discussed to any extent management 
planning or organizational systems and processes in abstract terms. 

The Nature of People in Organizations 
The mental models of Ed, Mike, and Larry have strong 
similarities in this category. All three stressed the importance of 
recognizing workers for their contributions to the company and 
agreed that a variety of types of rewards provide positive 
reinforcement for desired behaviors. All three demonstrate an 
understanding of interpersonal dynamics that have occurred and are 
currently occurring in the company. They recognize the positive and 
negative impact that interpersonal dynamics have on people. 
Respect is a common theme the three managers discuss. Ed 
understands the importance of demonstrating his respect for 


workers' feelings and values. Mike and Larry define behaviors that 
show respect, such as listening to workers' ideas and suggestions and 
being honest in dealings with employees. Larry and Mike stress the 
deep feelings that the workers in their plant have for the company, 
about their jobs, and their recent positive work environment. Ed 
demonstrates his understanding of these themes in his discussion of 
a previous work experience and his personal satisfaction in being 
able to help those workers. 

All three also discuss the themes of hard work, setting goals, 
and making ever more challenging goals to achieve. They also 
recognize the positive and negative impact that leadership may have. 

The Nature of Planned Organizational Change 
All three managers perceive transformational change having 
taken place in their plant atmosphere or climate in worker and 
management attitudes toward each other, as well as in production 
and quality. All three can describe how the leaders' actions and 
behaviors made these changes possible. All three differentiate 
between previous leadership which had existed in the plant and 
current leadership. All three perceived that previous management 
created a very negative climate with significant conflict and hostility 
between management and labor. Current leadership has reversed 
this situation dramatically. All three managers discussed the 
importance of team work and open communication. They feel that 
together they will solve problems and make decisions that will 
enhance the company's success. 

Self Perception 
All three speak about their ability to be sensitive about 
people's feelings. Ed understands that his position enables him to 
make significant contributions in people's lives. Mike sees the 
personal goals he has achieved. He sees himself as an expert on 
production and is secure in his opinions and beliefs. Larry sees his 
mission as the creation of positive working environment and of 
secure jobs for current workers' children in the future. Larry is 
pleased with the opportunity he has to prove himself. 


This utility company is located in the Western part of the 
United States. It is a start up business, having spun off from a larger 
parent company to focus on new markets and products. The new 
company has been in existence for about two years. Its president 
was president of the parent company and was the prime mover in 
determining the future direction that the parent needed to take. He 
and other managers decided that the best way to take advantage of 
new technologies and regulatory changes about to take place in the 
industry was to form a separate company, with the parent company 
holding a minority interest. Many of the people who formed the new 
company came from the parent company. This interview with Rob, 
the president inquires about his experiences in both companies. 

This case is an example of transformational change. In fact, 
two transformational changes have taken place and/or are currently 
taking place. The first example is the parent company and the 
second is the new start up company. This case qualifies as examples 
of transformational change because in the parent company the new 
management taking over from the retiring CEO, challenged the then 
existing norms and values. The development of and then the 
founding of the new company established a new organization with 
different goals, mission, and culture from the old one. 

There is a striking difference in the cultures of the two 
companies. The parent company had been in existence for over one 
hundred years. It provided customers with quality products and 

services in a regulated industry. Perhaps, the best way to describe 
its philosophy was "stay the course." It was not perceived in the 
parent company that any significant problems existed and workers 
believed that they could count on life-time employment. When the 
former president retired, Rob was named to replace him. Rob saw 
many current problems and possibly future ones, but also saw future 
opportunities. These opportunities are what Rob pursued and they 
were a primary interest of his. The existing board, which had not 
significantly changed was reluctant to continue to invest in a costly 
and what it perceived as a risky venture not within their experience 
or expertise. The majority investors of the new company see the 
potential for profit and are willing to risk capital to achieve it in the 

The new company is entrepreneurial in spirit and in fact. New 
ways of servicing customers are being planned. Plans are revised 
frequently. There is a tremendous amount of work for a small 
number of people. There's a feeling of energy and mission 
throughout the building. 

Rob's interview involved looking back at the parent company 
and what Rob did as leader there. The interview then moved to the 
current situation where he is leading the start up. Rob is a soft 
spoken man in his early fifties, slender, and rather rugged looking in 
red flannel shirt and jeans. His office is large, but plain in 
appearance, without what would be considered the usual trappings 
expected for his position. Rob seems thoughtful and is highly verbal. 
During our conversation, Rob paused frequently to think and perhaps 
ponder before responding. 


The company, at the time of this interview employed 
approximately 40 people. It is located in a prefabricated building 
that appears from the extreme height of the ceilings to have once 
been a medium sized warehouse. It is utilitarian in appearance with 
few decorative touches. I feel it to be cold and detached. 

The Nature of Organizations 

Rob talks infrequently about organizational systems and 
processes, but does discuss management planning. In the following 
statement, Rob describes a new strategic planning process. This was 
instituted in the parent company where he had been CEO. 

• It led to our first comprehensive bottoms up strategic plan for 
the company. It began with an assessment of each department 
in the organization: the articulation of a set of issues, plans for 
addressing those issues, and then an effort to create some 
metrics so we'd know whether we accomplished anything or 
not. Finally, a process of review was decided on that asked 
each leader in the company, including myself, to present 
before the management committee a report on how each of us 
was doing. 

Rob had to learn quickly a great deal about his new company's 
operations. As mentioned below, in the Self Perception category, he 
acknowledges that he had very little expertise in the specific 
technologies and processes that would be needed in the new 
business. The statement below indicates some understanding of the 
complexities involved in the new venture. 

• We are dealing with an array of outside suppliers and part of 
the work here is managing a set of interrelating external 


relationships, which is very different from an asset based 
company in that they have some important suppliers but 
which has a lot of its capabilities centralized around assets. 

In the example below, Rob discusses a robust process that links 

individual development plans to the company's strategic plan. 

• So we wound up creating a combination of assessment and 
planning; bottoms up engaged the company that led to an 
annual plan and personal development plans that were 
aligned with the annual plan. So we were after creating a self 
improvement and development capability of the 
organization, performing an overall assessment in which we 
got an increasing level of candor and thoroughness, and an 
assessment of how we were doing in the eyes of our 
employees, laid against fairly well developed standards of 
corporate performance. 

The Nature of People in Organizations 

Rob doesn't often demonstrate a strong understanding of 
people in organizations. He doesn't discuss an understanding about 
what members want, what their motives are, and what they want to 
achieve. As discussed below, in this category, he seems more aware 
of organizational dynamics that exist in his company. Perhaps, this is 
because they continue to be a significant problem. 

Risk Taking 

Rob states his understanding of the tough job they all face in 
this start-up venture. He and the others could fail in this attempt. 
He describes the atmosphere below. 

• This is a tense place. We are trying to do something hard and 
we could fail. Everyone knows it and so there is a level of 


anxiety here which is way beyond where we were at the parent 

Understanding Organizational Dynamics 

Rob often describes in this interview his perception of the 
forces of conflict and resistance that result from the mix of people 
and the daunting nature of their efforts. 

• It has led to some conflict between folks who have been with 
an entrepreneurial setting before and people who have not. 
They have very different expectations. You know we have 
some very strong personalities and strong personality conflicts 
that are impeding working together. 

The next statement indicates an understanding of some of the 

causes for the current interpersonal strife that Rob describes. In this 

statement, Rob discussed the mental model of the former CEO of the 

parent company. Some of the people who came over to the new 

company are strongly influenced by having worked for years with 

that CEO. 

• His [the former CEO] mental model of a well run company 
was a locomotive on the track. With everything greased up 
and shiny and requiring a minimal amount of guidance and 
adjustment, just going down the tracks nice and quiet. 

The Nature of Planned Organizational Change 

Understanding Planned Organizational Change Concepts 

Rob demonstrates in these discussions, a good understanding of 
aspects of current models of planned organizational change. Most of 
these seem to come from Senge's work including "The Fifth 
Discipline" and work on Total Quality (Senge, 1990a). 


• What we did was to take the Baldrige award standards and 
select from them a few key standards for ourselves. We set 
up a process first of all with a diagonal slice of the 
organization. In a conference we held for a couple of days, we 
decided to assess the organization overall against those 
standards. We had a protocol that was pretty well developed 
and a consultant who was familiar with it. It helped us create 
a picture of the company, measured against a fairly well 
articulated standard performance; customer orientation for 
instance. That began to get people used to the idea of 
improving and that changing something and making it better 
was a good idea rather than a pain in the neck or worse yet, 
objectionable. It engaged the management of the company in 
a way because people were encouraged to be very candid on 
what they thought. 

Rob particularly seems to understand the need for strong 

communication to get the change process going. In the statement 

below in which he refers to the parent company, he clearly expresses 

his belief that, in the parent company his management group must 

communicate well in order to develop a creative process to begin 

changing that company. 

• We did not have the money [in the parent company] to run 
out and hire lots of consultants. The management group was 
going to have to slug through the issues themselves; create a 
process and slug through it together. So the task was try to 
create the ability of this group to have a kind of constructive 
and on-going conversation about important business issues. 
Underneath or around all this was the whole question of how 
one begins to work on changing the approach to work in a 
bureaucratic industry. 

Rob frequently brings into the conversation references to 
perceptions of the future of his industry. 


• I thought that I knew we had a major structural change ahead 
of us [in the parent company] and we could either sit back and 
wait or we could see if there could be some opportunities in 
there for us. We chose the latter and shortly thereafter, I hired 
a guy from outside the industry with a lot of experience in 
marketing. He plunged in and helped us begin to analyze the 
point of view of consumer marketing. We went through a 
whole series of planning and thinking processes. 

Rob demonstrated great interest in working with his 

management group to figure out what the new business 

opportunities related to deregulation in the field should look like. He 

took steps, such as financing studies and hiring some consultants, 

which were often helpful in planning change. 

• We set up a team to begin to try to develop a plan for the 
restructured industry, that was focusing on our customers 
who would be treated like any purchasers in other retail 
products. We commissioned a number of studies and did a 
good deal of modeling; we visited a number of companies; we 
had some consulting help and by the first part of 199_ we 
were in the position to try to assemble a planning team with 
outside help that could actually try to create a business plan 
for the new business opportunities. To make a long story 
short that was done and we created a process for reviewing a 
proposed new business plan [for a new separate business] 
which came to the conclusion in January of 199_ and was 
approved by the board of directors and we began to look for 
funding for the new business. 

• It became evident that we were not making progress with the 
organization. We needed some process, some books, we 
needed some discipline and the consulting help that we had 
had really helped stimulate a dialogue that led to the creation 
of this process and the execution of managing it. It was a 
process of making it up as we went along. 

Rob recognizes the need for his new company to be flexible and 
adaptable as important aspects of planned organizational change. 

• Flexibility is clearly a competency that we have to have. You 
are right to point it out. It is more critical in its absence and 
more powerful in its presence than it was in the parent 

• [On flexibility]. In learning to live with the level of 
uncertainty that we are operating in, in being able to respond 
constructively to changes in the external environment, it has 
been a very important learning experience for us. We are 
learning to knock off another forecast in a few days and you 
know it would have taken us six months a year ago. We are 
having a conversation this afternoon with one of our 
investors about our latest runs, taking a look at ..., in light of 
some current developments with the response to our current 
direct mail. 

Rob appears to understand the need for more than token 
comphance with change efforts, Rob wants enthusiastic support as 
indicated below. 

• Enlisting the support of the senior management, one-on-one 
meetings, discussions, threats, all of that stuff, but mostly 
trying to get not merely grudging compliance, but 
understanding and enthusiastic acceptance. For those who 
could not do it I gave up. We had some folks that were 
talented people, important to the company, but just didn't get 
this, so they had to be put into places where their attitudes just 
didn't get in the way. 

In the statements below, Rob demonstrates having not only 
studied planned organizational change concepts, but also, having 
thought carefully about them. He states that the leader must be able 
to change himself before he can lead change in the organization. 

Ironically, as mentioned elsewhere in this interview and in 
interviews with two of his managers, this is an area that Rob has a 
great deal of difficulty in accomplishing, although he makes 
demonstrated efforts to do so. 

• I have, as I am sure you have, read a lot of the learning 
organization stuff , and it is very compelling and this place 
has to be a learning organization. We have to learn everyday 
and if we don't we are going to get run over. 

• Try to build in an attitude and a capability for making a 
change. You cannot change an organization by changing the 
people but by giving people an opportunity to change the way 
they think about work. There was training along the way that 
helped people with this process. 

• I guess I would reemphasize the statement, it has been my 
experience that there is no such thing as changing an 
institution or an organization in which the leaders do not 
commit to personal changes as well, and to confronting 
themselves, allowing themselves to be confronted with the 
need for amending the way they look at things, to rethinking 
their behaviors and to focus on their activities. 

Understanding the Need for Change 

In the following statement Rob characterizes the nature of the 
problems in his company that were targeted by the planned 
organizational change effort. His following three statements 
demonstrate his awareness of the need for change but are rather 
vague about specific problems that may require change. 

• There were maybe three buckets of stuff. One was trying to 
improve the relationships at the top of the company, another 
was to begin thinking about really big stuff and a third was 


approaching operational change in a organization that was 
pretty dogmatic. 

• We did have a number of operational issues and future 
strategic challenges, but a part of that may have been 
happerung in the industry at large and in order to begin to 
approach those we needed to set in place the right 
mechanisms and approaches. 

• But by the time he [former CEO] retired, exactly at age 65, it 
was quite evident to me that we needed to make some 
serious changes with the company. 

Rob demonstrates his understanding of the need for change in 

his former organization. He is able to demonstrate a good 

understanding of what, at the time, were future problems his former 

organization faced. 

• Well we had the looming question of where the industry as a 
whole was going and what might happen to a little 
distribution company. We had what I regarded as a seriously 
dysfunctional senior management, and we had a number of a 
corporation issues, change issues that needed attention, quite 
apart from where we might go strategically. 

• [In response to the question: " So the organization was not 
prepared to meet any challenges for the future?"] 

1 didn't think so. The first task as I saw it then, was to engage 
the senior management in a way that would lead to 
improved communications and improved ability to grapple 
with the issues, and as part of that we begin to craft a planning 
process that hooked the management of the company itself in 
facing these challenges that the company was looking at. 

• The company was in denial about weak work practices, lack of 
formal quality programs, a lack of formal planning and goal 
setting, to a compensation plan that was bureaucratic and not 


robust enough. The organization was focused on a rather 
narrow set of criteria. So there was a whole range of matters 
that needed, in my view, attention in order to position the 
company correctly. 

• But beyond that, out toward the horizon, there was this 
question of where was the industry going, what would a 
deregulated industry look like, and what might be available to 
us in a world such as that. 

Understanding Leadership and Management 

Rob seems to have a grasp of certain aspects of the role of 
leaders and managers in organizational change. These he 
expresses as (1) bringing management together to deal 
collectively with issues, (2) developing good communications 
throughout the company, (3) focusing on the future, (4) 
developing plans and processes to change the organization, 
and (5) dealing with conflict. Some of these leadership and 
management aspects he directly discusses as his responsibility, 
such as the two following. However, Rob frequently refers to 
"we" should do this or that, referring to the management 
group including himself. 

• I am very much involved and I regarded this as maybe my 
primary job. So I think the work of leaders is to create change, 

I think that is what their job is, and there wasn't any doubt 
about the need for changes. 

• You would have first heard a general description of what we 
were trying to do; you would have heard from me personally 
on that in the group meeting. 

In the statements below, Rob recognizes the need to include all 
levels of management in moving the company forward. 

• I think we began to face up to the challenge of our middle 
management which I don't think we dealt with very well 


until we began the quality of work which was very bottom 

• [In response to the question: "What kinds of things helped 
people to be able to facilitate their ability to change?"] 

It was primarily the behavior of their supervisors which was 
always the case. 

• In a very significant way we had left out middle management 
of the company. In part, that was true for a number of 
reasons. The quality of those people, but significantly the 
management ability of the officers of the company in some 
cases was not highly developed which is typical in a 
bureaucracy and as a result there was a time in which I felt we 
were working pretty well as a senior management team, but 
that wasn't translating into results down in the organization 
and that is part of what led us into the quality work that we 
pursued on a very bottoms up basis. 

• We set up a series of a steps designed to pull the senior 
management of the company together, explore differences, 
identify strengths, work out problems, and in general, put us 
as a management into a position of where we could have 
constructive dialogues about issues. 

Perception of Change 

Rob describes his perception of change as successful both in his 
parent company as the first two statements discuss, and in his nevs' 

• We did however make very substantial progress in 

improving the ability of the top group to work together. 

• I think as the top of the company began to express some 
feelings we got by some old bad stuff and we began to come 
together as a unit. 


• There is excitement. We have come an enormously long way 
in a year, so we have something to be proud of and something 
to stand on as we consider the multiple uncertainties that we 
need to deal with. 

• We think that we have done first class consumer research, 

leading edge in many ways. While we expect to have 
competition in our niche, we also expect to compete 

In the following statement, Rob ponders how success should be 

measured. In the next statement, he discusses how he wants to have 

his company measured, not by traditional "Fortune" magazine 

standards, but by, he believes, more encompassing ones. 

• Well, I hadn't originated the idea, but I think it is correct and 
that is you must have a balanced score card. You must have a 
set of financial objectives obviously, but you cannot create an 
organization that can learn unless you recognize and 
reinforce activity that is other than bottom line oriented; 
otherwise nobody has anything to worry about but the bottom 

• One of the things that I am having difficulty looking at in 
companies is measuring success. We can measure it a lot of 
different ways. It's typical NASDAQ and the S&P. This is 
looking at quarterly results and that sort of thing. There are 
other ways of looking at it too. We will have objectives and 
measures in areas other than the bottom line, including 
internally focused measures, personal learning, 
developmental work, customer relations, and process 

Understanding Innovations 

Rob discusses some of his ideas about getting the innovation 
process moving. A central theme in this is Rob's perception that you 


need to shake people up, get them thinking "out of the box," and get 
them talking about the issues. 

• We reorganized in a significant way and gave people some 
very different jobs and ttiat created a lot of stimulus in the 
company for fresh thinking. 

• "Scenarios" probably over-states it because at this point we are 
at a real conceptual level. I would imagine what the industry 
would look like and how we might play a role in the company 
when it was completed. What we were able to do fairly early 
was to eliminate some big chunks. We would look at some 
paths and say we are not going down that path, thaf s not us. 
At the same time, we began to consider this from the point of 
view of consumer marketing, and that is what proved so very 
interesting, and, ultimately led to the creation of the company 
and my departure from the parent company to head the new 

• Some good thinking outside the company, some new people 
in the company, people who brought fresh perspectives, and 

strong convictions by me that this was something we should 
pursue. So let's get on with it. 

Understand Need for Communication 

Rob frequently brings the importance of communication into 
his interview. Many of the previous statements also include a strong 
element of the need for communication, primarily among his 
management group. 

• The first task, as I saw it, was to engage the senior 
management in a way that led to improved communications 

and improved ability to grapple with the issues. 

Although infrequently mentioned by Rob, the following two 
statements demonstrate personal ownership for communications. 


• Okay, you would have first a general description of what we 
were trying to do, you would have heard from me personally 

on that in the group meeting. 

• I appeared personally in some of the assessments to give them 
support. I personally participated in the first round of reports 

from the departments on their self assessments. I tried to set 
the tone, that was shocking, we were so bad at looking at 
ourselves, in trying to formiilate a plan for improving. 

In the following statement, Rob recognizes the problems in 
trying to change how people are accustomed to communicate and the 
problems associated with an organization that is structured 

• One of our major challenges here has been communications, 

between people, the level of intensity required to move 
multiple tasks forward simultaneously has proven to be 
quite a challenge for a group of people who were more used 
to a fairly functional division of work. It has taken a lot of 
effort to work on that, bust it down and to get people 
aggressively communicating. 

• There was a lot of friction about that particular issue at first, 
but, now we have people that never talked to each other now 
talking to each other and we've learned that that is very 
important, that if I do this over here, that is going to make a 
difference for this person over there, and we better talk about 
it. Some practice it and some do not. It is on the table as 
something that is extremely important for us to work on; we 
are still struggling. 

Understanding the Need for Team Work 

Rob seems to focus on the need for his management group to 
work together, although his concept of team work seems somewhat 
vague apart from "discussing and working out issues." 

• My view was that if the company was going to face the future 
that this senior management team had to do it collectively 

and as a small place everybody had to do it. 

• We launched a series of planning meetings in which 
relationship issues were placed on the table and we had some 
outside consulting help. 

Understanding Organizational Culture 

In the following statements, Rob indicates an awareness of how 
an organization's norms and values impact how things get done in a 
company on a day-to-day basis. Rob also demonstrates the 
understanding of the impact of the leader on creating these norms 
and values. 

• I inherited a management group in a company that was, 
despite its small size, none the less a rather rigid, bureaucratic, 
slow moving company, 100 years old, run by a guy who has 
spent his entire professional life in the industry before coming 
here earlier in the decade. 

• Those folks came with baggage. So one of the challenges here 
is to contend with the baggage in an environment that is 
even less appropriate than it was in the parent company. 

Understanding Resistance 

In the statements below, Rob discusses the reality of resistance 
existing against his change efforts. He believes that the remedy for 

resistance is to help those supporting the change and then enlist 
them in helping non-believers to understand it. Rob infrequently 
mentions the fear of the unknown that often plays a part in 
resistance. He appears to focus on rational decisions based on 
knowledge of the positive nature of the change as being able to 
overcome resistance. Yet, he does see the need to overcome 
employee resistance. 

• There were some people that just couldn't do it. There were 
some real skeptics. I had agnostics and some of them did 
pretty well and some of them were tough. Then there were 
some believers who were right. I tried to find believers and 
try to give them opportunities to help other employees. The 
question of the credibility of the process had to penetrate the 
cynicism of people whose opinion hadn't been asked in a long 
time in any serious way. 

• I think the biggest threat to it was not outright opposition. It 
was the lack of knowledge, it was fear and lack of knowledge 
of how to do things. The parent company tfrom where most 
of the people came ] was an organization where people were 
diligent and honest and worked hard which was admirable in 
many ways. I would say it was the lack of knowledge and fear 
that was the biggest impediment. 

• iDealing with resistance] I don't think if s ever done. When I 
look back, it's the first significant engagement of the 
organizational change. 

Self Perception 
Understanding One's Own Role 

The three statements below appear to indicate Rob's thinking 
on what his role should be. He mentions three general areas that he 

seems to have spent time thinking about; restructuring, future 
impact of deregulation, and being the calming force amidst the 
turmoil of change. The first two are visionary in nature; looking to 
the future of the company and how to take advantage of 
opportunities as they present themselves. The third is helping 
people to cope with change. 

• So when I first began thinking about what I would do as CEO 

[of the parent company] it seemed evident to me that we had 
the dual task of trying to figure out the then hazy idea of 
restructuring our company and what deregulation might do. 
What our role might be and how we might take advantage of 
it rather than hide from it. 

• I began to craft a planning process that hooked the 
management of the company itself in facing these challenges. 

• There are times around here when I think that my principal 
job is, as somebody once said, to keep calm. Somebody has to 
be composed. 

Seeing Oneself as Leader 

As the three statements below suggest, Rob sees himself as the 
leader of the organization. However, this pertains primarily to his 
vision of the future and strategic planning that he leads or is heavily 
involved with. His leadership doesn't seem to include interacting 
with people. 

• It's a small enough place so that a little bit of consulting 
helped me, sometimes helped the company, make a big step. I 
was personally involved in a lot of it. I think the senior 
management team was strongly behind the effort. 


• I was able, I think, to provide some leadership in approaching 
issues in a different way. 

• A place I felt I had to start with a combination of things trying 
to reform the way that people saw how senior management 
related to one another, and launch a planning process that 
could get us into position to contend with issues in a logical 

Understanding One's Own Role 

Rob indicates that his role includes communicating information 
about the change, putting pressure on people, providing 
opportunities for people to confront the issues, being forthright, and 
doing some coaching. He sees himself carrying out these activities as 
mentioned below. 

• Let me give you a list of what I am involved in personally, for 
example, traveling around the company, meeting with groups 
of employees explaining what's going to happen, and what we 
are trying to do. 1 don't think anyone could ever do enough of 
that. I undoubtedly could have done more but personal 
contact with the CEO is real critical for people. Enlisting the 
support of the senior management, meetings one-on-one, and 

• Some of that took a lot of pressure from me, a lot of top down 

• Create opportunities for people to learn to be trained to learn, 
to grow, to confront issues with others and with myself. 

• Dealing with people in a forthright way, who I don't think are 
communicating the way they ought to, and coaching them. 
This is a small enough place for me to go sit in some body's 
office and talk to them about the way they seem to be 
perceived and why that is cutting off communications. 

Self Awareness 

In an effort to improve communication in the new company, 
Rob approved an offsite meeting facilitated by a consultant. Through 
some of the activities, Rob received feedback that was, in Rob's 
words, upsetting and enlightening. The following three statements 
demonstrate Rob's reported reaction and the awareness that this 
brought him. 

• It became evident to me by reading between the lines and 
reading some stuff that I was talking to people in a way that 
left people feeling negative, and that I had a habit of giving 
mixed messages. Like, 'gee, that was a really good job you did 
on that project. Have you thought about this, or now that you 
got that done, what are you going to do about this issue.' I was 
driving people crazy with trying to improve them in that way. 
I got a message sent to me that I felt strongly about. It had 
some familiar echoes going back, not only in work life but in 
personal life, and so I decided that I better try to deal with it. 
So I, in the staff meeting put this little sign up on the screen 
that said I've got this issue and I've heard some feedback 
which I think I have straight in my head now and I am going 
to work on this. So that's what I mean about trying things 

• I try to confront it. Creating processes that require it to be 
confronted by the organization's assessment process. I'm 
trying to give immediate positive feedback, in ways that 
reinforce the right kind of behavior. 

• So if I fall short of that everybody knows. It makes everybody 
very cynical. 

Rob indicates awareness of his feelings and emotions to events 

in the organization. He seems to be able to put any disappointments 

in his efforts in trying to make changes into the perspective of the 

whole change process. He also seems to realize the importance of 
making changes in himself, as the leader, to further planned 
organizational change. For example, Rob is honest and candid about 
his vulnerability to the personal behaviors mentioned above that 
negatively impact his management group. 

• It was a discouraging moment, that first round of the 
assessment process. These were all very foreign concepts and 
ideas, and the first round of returns from department to 
department, I thought we would never get anywhere. It was 
very discouraging. But it was a very important beginning of 
engaging the organization in the change process. 

• Relationship management has turned out to be a big deal. I 

have lost that close knit management team that I had in the 
parent company. We have some new people and some 
people that came away from the parent company with me, 
that together has proven challenging. 

• We are moving very quickly and it is crunching my habits 
about decision making and delegation. I cannot have the 
levels of control here that I think would have been regarded 
as commonplace in this industry simply because we have to 
move so fast that centralization doesn't work. 

• It felt horrible when I first began to understand what it was 
that I was hearing. I thought about it; 1 talked to a couple of 
people internally that are good at thinking about those sort of 
things, and decided that I would confront it head on. 

• I have a very strong preference for conceptual ideas, new 
ideas, visionary stuff in planning long range and I hate details 
Like my checkbook balance. 

• I've always worked hard but I've never worked on a sustained 
basis this hard with anyone, the possible exception I think. 


was my first year of graduate school. Learning the stuff that I 
needed to learn to run a different kind of company, the 
mastery of that stuff is work that I wish I was doing at age 40 
instead of at age 54. 

I find that moving to this job has shaken me. Part of it, I 
think, has been simply the shock of leaving a career path and 
a style of working and a set of commitments that I was deeply 
engaged with. Many relationships that were important to me 
that worked over the years are gone, and I gave up a number 
of community contacts and a couple of directorships that I 
worked on. In retrospect in working on this other activity I 
think it was more of a shock to my system than I realized. 




Ralph worked for Rob in the parent company, though not as his 
direct report. Ralph moved over with Rob to the start up and 
continued his work in developing business plans for the new 
enterprise. This has been difficult work, Ralph admits, but 
interesting and exciting at the same time. Ralph shows a strong 
interest in the study of organizational development. In fact, he has 
just begun a Ph.D. program in this subject area. Ralph was open and 
apparently frank in his discussions about Rob's strengths and 
weaknesses as leader of both the parent company and now the new 
spin off. During our discussions, Ralph seemed at ease, pleasant, 
smiling and laughing easily. 

The Nature of Organizations 

Management Planning 

Ralph has been, and currently is heavily involved with 
management planning as demonstrated below. 

• My specific role was to oversee the development of any 
economic analysis, rate the business plan, pull together how 
the business plan would work, and stuff like that-the business 
area of the transformation moving to the new company. 

• I'm working on the business plan to develop the next 
generation of the retail business. 


• We ask ourselves if deregulation happens how wotdd we 
reorganize? We went through several processes in order to 
develop our plans. We would meet as a group and then split 
up into teams; we literally split the organization into teams. 

The Nature of People in Organizations 

Understanding People's Needs in Organizations 

Ralph demonstrates an understanding for some aspects of what 
people need in organizational settings. Specifically, Ralph mentions 
the need for the CEO to get to know the workers, listen to their 
problems and ideas, and generally show an interest in who they are 
and what their work life is like. 

• But like any other transformation from one leadership to the 
other, you are looking for other characteristics and there is 
always a tradeoff. I think from the organization's perspective 
people might have enjoyed somebody that has an interest in a 
lot more contact with people and show a lot more interest in 
people who work in the building. 

Understanding Organizational Dynamics 

Ralph seems to demonstrate an understanding about the 
impact people have on each other when they are working in an 
organizational setting. In following three statements, Ralph describes 
clashes of ideas and concepts about how the new company should be 
structured, they way it should be managed, and who gains and who 

• We developed this new business, while still within the parent 
company, and, as you can imagine, it wasn't easy picking and 
choosing who was going to work on what and if you worked 
on it that meant you were kind of in Bruce's' camp and that 


made for some bad feelings [Bruce is a controversial 
marketing guru brought into the parent company at the 
director level]. Bruce's group or Bruce had to interface with 
some of these people who were more of the traditional 
economist mode or traditional whatever mode and just didn't 
believe in Bruce's approach or thinking on it and you got, and 
still get, hard feelings. By the time we left there were people 
there in the parent company who were so happy to see Rob 
and Bruce and the rest of all those idiots go. 

• So I think initially we felt, here we are, cool, we're in this 
business together, now lef s get the work done, let's figure it 
out. There was a ton of work to do and of course we hadn't 
staffed any areas where we needed additional people yet, so 
everybody was working many hours. It was tough to do any 
real organizational work right away. 

• Bruce's a good guy, but he's a marketing guy and he's as much 
a marketing guy that you're ever gonna find. He is probably 
more of a marketing guy than you're gonna find at Proctor 
and Gamble or anywhere else and you drop him into a 
company [the parent company] that's in the middle of trying 
to find its own soul. You turn him loose, not to be the change 
agent, not directly responsible for changing the company, but 
help us feel out where we can go in the deregulated industry. 
Bruce got things going that eventually led to the development 
of this spin off. As you can imagine it's a bit of a shock. 
There are still a lot of tough feelings. I mean, there are people 
to this day from the parent company, that won't talk to Rob 
and won't talk to Bruce. 

Ralph explains how he took on the role of explaining and 
mediating issues involving interpersonal dynamics and business 
issues. The two statements below demonstrate his understanding of 
interpersonal issues and conflict. 


My role is kind of interesting because I always find myself 
kind of in the middle, I mean, I was one of the few people 
who, I think, bridged the gap successfully between the people 
who understood where the changes would take us and the 
people who are not very enthusiastic about it but also had 
done enough marketing and business development stuff to 
appreciate that it might have some long term value. I found 
myself a lot of times trying to mitigate and spend time with 
people who had doubtful feelings and try to explain to them 
why the business proposition was needed and why so and so 
is behaving this way or that. 

I work with some of the people in Brace's camp trying to 
explain to them that, 'look this is the perspective you got to be 
thinking about, this how you are perceived and this is why,' 
and I was kind of in between in the terms of organizational 

Ralph's View of Rob 
In discussing his views of the CEO, Ralph's discussion centers 
around the themes of Rob's need for greater communication at all 
levels, and particularly the informal kind, demonstration of more 
interest in employees by connecting to their interests, greater 
participatory management, more of a hands on approach in his 
leadership style, spending less time isolated with the senior 
management group, and being more approachable to the employees. 
In addition, Ralph believes that Rob is weak in knowledge about 
certain fundamental aspects of the business, such as marketing and 
information technology which are critical to the new business. But 
Ralph gives him credit for initiating and moving some of the changes 
in the parent company. Ralph sees Rob as honest, hard working, and 

trustworthy and a person of high integrity and moral character and 
beUeves others in the company see him similarly. 

• I think it is important in leadership to demonstrate a 
commitment to more informal communication in building 
relationships at all levels of the organization. I don't see that 
happening a lot, probably it would be to the benefit of the 
organization if he did that. 

• I think Rob stays pretty much to himself and has been 
working hard. He's a hard working, serious, intellectual 
attorney. If you look at Myers Briggs or anything that you 
want to measure him on I'm sure that you would find that he 
tends to focus inward and is introspective and thoughtful 
about things, that it's not his pattern to wander around the 

• People had the feeling that Rob would take things in the right 
direction and things would be somewhat more participatory. 
He was younger, could probably go in that direction, has a lot 
of good characteristics, and he is somebody that everybody in 
the building trusts. I think there is certainly a sense of trust 
and I think he has always been construed to be a person of 
high integrity and high moral character and I think that that is 
probably what he depended on when he came in. 

• There were some tough years at the parent company, I think, 
for him. There was a lot going on for him that maybe he 
should have gotten more involved in, but didn't. The hands 
on approach really didn't work very well either for him or any 
other senior management with some of the issues that had to 
do with district offices and employees' problems. And you 
know there probably should have been more involvement by 
Rob but it just never happened. 

• Just the building, the attitude, the nature of the industry, the 
nature of the organizational structure supports his 


detachment. You have so many support systems that allow 
somebody Like that to be the way he probably preferred to be: 
somewhat remote, spending a lot of time thinking and talking 
to the senior staff, but really not involved with the rest of the 

Rob is not deliberately tmapproachable, but the nature of his 
style was to try to engage in conversation, not to try to make a 
real connection with people. 

I think the consultant spent a lot of time attached to Rob's hip 
and worked with him in trying to change the organization, 
trying to change Rob's role in the organization. 

For Rob to go and start doing some of that change in the 
parent company probably took a lot of time, energy, and 
initiative on his behalf which people probably don't give him 
credit for. He did it in his own way. He wasn't down on the 
floor shaking everybody's hand and he wasn't trying to 
overtly develop that kind of relationship and that kind of 
leadership style. But I think he initiated and allowed some of 
the change to happen. 

I think an awful lot of [Rob's] internal energy was directed 
toward developing the new business [before the spin off was 
created]. 1 think if you were to ask a lot of people who work 
for the company, the people who do the real work, who go out 
to service customers, and answer the customer service 
number, they'd say that no it wasn't running well, it hasn't 
been running well for three years. Rob has been preoccupied 
with this idea of a new business to satisfy his own needs and 
the people in the glass palace over here are doing what they 
want to do and they are cutting back on customer service reps 
and we're overworked. Nobody pays any attention to us. 

I think Rob was struggling to try and figure out what he was 
supposed to be doing. I think you've got this business that's 


heavily dependent on marketing and Rob doesn't know 
anything about marketing and it's heavily dependent on IT 
systems and he's not an IT guy. 

• I think if s tough for somebody like Rob who is fairly 
structured, likes milestones and clear paths. 

The Nature of Planned Organizational Change 

Understanding the Need for Change 

The issue for Ralph about the need for change centers around 
the changing nature of the industry. In the statement below, Ralph 
describes his view of the need for change in the parent company. 

• Either you believe the industry is changing in such a way that 
we really need to try something different or you don't and 
people who looked at things in a more traditional economic 
kind of way just didn't believe. 

Understand Innovations 

In the statement below, Ralph demonstrates an understanding 
of the innovative nature of this start up business. 

• One of the things you have to realize is that this is a brand 
new industry. We are a brand new company and even the 
vendors who will eventually provide some of the services 
have never provided them to any one doing this. What we 
are doing is breaking new ground in many areas. 

Understanding the Need for Teamwork 

Ralph states that a team is a group of: 

• People who really know, understand, and trust each other in a 
complete fashion. 

While working at the parent company Ralph was heavily 
involved in planning the new spin off business, Ralph mentioned the 
difficulty in getting in touch with others involved in this planning. 

• Let's say somebody like Peter, his time was divided between 
the parent company and developing the spin off. Our offices 
were in different corners of the buildings, and it was really 
tough because he was working on certain aspects of the 
business when he could squeeze in some time. I'm doing my 
piece when I can squeeze it in. Everybody is doing their own 
little component part but we were not really a team there. 

Understanding Planned Organizational Change 

Ralph seems to understand that change is often not a smooth 
running process of events and that it takes time to make it happen 
the right way. However, waiting too long to begin, according to 
Ralph, only aggravates the problems that the change is designed to 

• Unfortunately, a lot of the employees just don't have the 
sense of perspective on this, what it takes to get an 
organization to turn 180 degrees. We are going to have starts 
and fits; we are going to be trying stuff and all of it's learning, 
and if s all going to take you in the right direction. It's better to 
be doing this than sitting and waiting for some grand scheme 
three years from now. 

• It is easy to compare us, for example, to because we are a 

little different in size but not tremendously. We are in the 
same state, we are both historically similar, and they on the 
other hand have always historically been a lot slower to react 
as an organization. In that two year period they didn't do 
much of anything and now are going through a massive 
restructuring with layoffs and all the rest of the pain. 

Ralph, in the two statements below, mentions that change is 
very personal in nature and affects people in different ways. Ralph 
believes that it's important for people in the organization to know 
what the change means to them personally. 

• I think the transformation to being a new company was 
something that people needed to try and figure out on kind of 
a personal level real fast. Even coming in here, people came 
in with their own set of dynamics and intentions. 

• So my role was not OD stuff, that's Sam's, I'm interested in 
tliis stuff and I'm just kind of getting up to speed on a lot of it. 
I'm going to be taking a more active role. I want to look at 
what are some of the real issues that people have. Lef s not do 
another survey or structured questions, but dialogue to try to 
get the feel for where we left off with these activities from the 
offsite [meeting] that we've done and I'll be doing that. It will 
be the most active I've been in this area. 

Understanding the Need for Communication 

Ralph demonstrates some understanding of the need for 
communication in several aspects of business. Ralph states that 
communication with customers and employees is necessary to 
understand what customers and company employees are thinking. 

• Part of the goal of informal relationships isn't just that you go 
out and make friends, if s to really understand the business, to 
really understand where your customers' thinking is and so 
on, and really understand where your employees' thinking is 
and you know, I think that there is a lot of benefits to that 
kind of communication. 

In the two statements below, Ralph focuses on the need for the 

organizational leader to pay attention to communications. Ralph 

believes that leadership requires good communications and there are 
negative consequences to not paying attention to it. 

• If you are not engaged in that process of getting feedback, then 
you yourself are not learning as much about the business as 
you actually could and that is important to a CEO. So I think 
more involvement with day to day operational activities, in 
an effort to be able to demonstrate more leadership in the 

• I think communication tends to be formal around here. 

What communication there was in the parent company was 
formal and what's left is a very bad attitude so if you 
interview people you will find that people have very bad 
feelings in that two or three year period previous to this. 

Self Perception 
Although, some statements that Ralph makes in this interview 
come close to being considered Self Perception, none clearly 
demonstrates this category. 



Sam is the manager of organizational development for Rob's 
new company. He first started at the parent company and still splits 
his time equally between the two. He is much more interested in the 
excitement, energy, and enthusiasm of the start up company and the 
opportunities to learn in this new experience. Sam has a difficult job, 
since he feels it's his responsibility to challenge Rob on actions and 
behaviors that negatively influence the company. Sam's statements 
reflect his inner battle on the dangers inherent in this and on what 
actions he should be taking to fulfill his role. 

I was not expecting to interview Sam; however, Rob thought it 
would be a good idea to do so. The interview was a surprise for Sam 
also. When I arrived at the interview location in an unoccupied 
office, 1 found Sam seated and sort of huddled in a corner. He 
appeared to me not pleased with the situation. Sam seemed uneasy 
during our conversation. He was neither concise nor fluent in 
expressing his thoughts. 

Nature of Organizations 
Sam does not discuss either management planning or 
organizational systems and processes in our interview, although my 
questions might lead him in that direction. 

Nature of People in Organizations 

Risk Taking 

Sam seems to understand that his position has potential risks. 
This is caused by the nature of his work which involves helping 
others in the company see how their actions and behavior may be 
blocking organizational growth. This theme returns in other 
categories particularly under Self Perception. 

• I am discovering that I that I have to take my chances and 
take more risks than what I had originally anticipated; I 
need to go out on more limbs. 

• I am familiar with having to take chances without being 
100% sure that I'm doing the right thing or that I will have 
the right outcome. 

• I need to take some more chances here because I think we 
are on the right track. I am not sure we are getting there 
fast enough. I also think that we need to shake things up, I 
mean, I think that we need to keep things really changing 
context where people try to deal with these issues. I don't 
want people to get complacent. I don't think our 
organizational structure is conducive to communications. 
I talk quite a bit about how people need to relate to one 
another. I don't think our organizational structure is one 
that will serve us well. 

The statement below indicates that Rob feels his honesty with 
me may cause him problems. He also seems to feel the need to 
protect himself by equivocating his remarks and by retracting his 
first position. It appears that Sam is well aware of his potentially 
dangerous situation. 


• I am probably getting myself into trouble. 

INTERVIEWER: Do you want me to stop the tape 

SAM: No, no you just do what you said you were going to 
do [referring to confidentiaHty of the interview]. There is 
nothing personal about all this you know. From my point 
of view nobody said I am right. Nothing says that I am 
right nor do I think that my viewpoint is the one that has 
to be advanced. 

Organizational Dynamics 

The following statement demonstrates Sam's perception of 
interpersonal dynamics that existed in his former company and 
currently exist in the new one in which he works for Rob. Sam 
appears to understand how the structure of the company may 
negatively impact the way people work. In several of the statements 
that follow, Sam demonstrates this understanding and warns against 
the current structure. 

• It was really interesting to arrive at the other company 
(where Rob was president) because I was pretty used to a 
dysfunctional management team. At my old company 
[prior to the parent company], it was commonplace that the 
culture was pretty brutal. So I come in here and work on a 
senior management team. It's quite different here. I never 
hear anybody bad mouthing anyone. It is amazing. You 
got a senior management team that is running all around 
full of tension with one another totally detached from the 
rest of the organization and then there is this gap between 
the senior management group and the rest of the 
organization, such that the people don't even know who 
they are, what they do, or do they care or think it has much 
to do with them or their work. 



Sam comments on the hierarchical structure of the new 
company and the problems it presents for communication and 

• What we like to think is that we have a flat organization, 
but when I have 40 people in the organization and eight of 
them are director level, that is not flat. I don't like those 
words, 'senior management.' 1 think you are already 
starting to separate people with those words. Rob created 
the same structure that he had over there without doing a 
careful analysis of what was the best structure for this 
particular company. I didn't come over here with the 
assumption that we needed a senior management team. 1 
wasn't resistant to it, nor am I now, nor do I think it is 
necessarily a bad thing, but 1 thought it might require some 
good conversation. The whole senior management team 
has been forever debating what their particular realms of 
domain should be or what their titles should be and what 
their pay should be, and everybody else witnessed it all, if s 
not like we don't see this stuff. 

• They [the lower level employees] are doing okay with each 
other, doing the work, but they are not at all connected to 
the senior management team. That team is in the 
stratosphere doing their own thing with one another. 

• I am supporting people here with a lot of issues around 
our climate. We do a climate survey and from that we 
have received less than favorable responses having to do 
with how we manage conflict and how we avoid blame. 

• Rob's senior management team has a lot of touchy topics 
you know, about performance appraisals, the decision 
making process, and compensation systems. In their 
recent meeting with Rob, he jumped right to it, boom, 
boom, boom. People were very unhappy with the way he 


rammed his decisions through. I thought I had some 
insights that would help them in the future in trying to 
deal with what I thought was causing some of these 
difficulties that we were experiencing. 

• We have some tough personalities here, you know. They 
are tough personalities, but they are good people. They 
want the right thing to happen and for the most part I 
don't think that interpersonal relationships are 

• That's why I said what I did about the senior management 
team. That's why I'm not sitting down with Rob on the 
complaints about his senior management meeting we 
discussed. I wanted to send a message that I am not 
necessarily Rob's boy. I am an independent agent, 
otherwise I lose my effectiveness with the other people. 

What Makes People Tick 

Sam appears to be interested in people's behaviors and 

• To me it is very interesting to try to discover why the 
people from the parent company came here as opposed to 
staying in a more secure environment. 

Sam's View of Rob 

In the following statements, Sam describes his perception of 
Rob. He discusses Rob's leadership style, his need to control things, 
and his need to be the center of any approval decisions. Sam gives 
Rob a great deal of credit for taking a big step in becoming more 
open to some fairly significant criticism about his interpersonal 
behavior and some questioning of his ability to lead the new 
company due to his lack of experience and knowledge. 


• I'm still not convinced that Rob has totally internalized it, 

although, that he is much farther along than all the 
people who were before him, but he is still likes to hang on 
to a lot of strings, he just can't let things go. 

• I mean he still likes to really hang on to an approval or to 
really be in control and so there are some limitations that 
that behavior causes on what we are able to do. 

• Interestingly enough, Rob brought some of those personal 
needs for control with him here and we have been 
struggling with those here. 

• He does recognize that need for approval and control, to 

his credit, but I'm not sure he sees it as something that he 
should get rid of. I don't think he sees it always as a 
handicap, and I think he always tries to sort through 
things. On the one hand, people say he still has control of 
everything and on the other hand people say he is too 
goofy and too detached and doesn't understand operations, 
doesn't understand details enough. So there is a natural 
conflict here between these two and I think he wrestles 
with them as well. There is no requirements that 
everybody is going to be able to meet all the needs all at 
once, he has made a huge contribution. 

In the statement below, Sam demonstrates admiration for Rob 
in his efforts to deal with the criticism described in the above 


At least he's started to get out and talk to people some and 
get more in touch with what was going on. He started to 
make some decisions on his own about changes he was 
going to make. He made them public, talked to people, 
was fairly humble with people, saying, this is what I am 
learning about myself, about you; it was really remarkable, 
and I really admired him for doing it. It also put him into 


a position whereby he was able to help other people. He 
had made himself vulnerable. So we started to really 
move then into a different place and we built on that by 
doing some additional work with purpose and values and 
you know that worked together very well. It is really 
important that we keep that going. 

Nature of Planned Organizational Change 

Understands Planned Organizational Change 

Sam realizes that to be effective in his position, he needs to 
have direct access to Rob and, as he said in a previous statement, he 
must appear to everyone as independent and unbiased. This is 
important for Sam to be able to help the organization grow and 

• I work indirectly for Rob, but I don't want to be that 
indirect, I don't want to be by myself going through too 
many layers. 

The following statement demonstrates both the importance of 
unfreezing or shaking up an organization to get it to change and the 
part that the president had in initiating change in the parent 

• What Rob did at the old company that was significant was 
that he unfroze things. He scared the shit out of some 
people, I mean essentially he told people that they were 
not guaranteed a life time employment. If they wanted to 
be around they had to make a difference. They were 
responsible and had to take self responsibility. He unfroze 
things in that regard, which was a 100 year freeze. Yeah, [in 
the new form of the parent company] they could speak up 


and they could express their viewpoints. There was, at 
least, some hope that they would be heard and acted on. 

Providing feedback to the organization is critical for it to hit its 

target. Knowing how well it is doing enables the company to keep on 

track towards its goals. In the statement below, Sam appears to 

recognize this, although he is dissatisfied with the company's 

progress and the difficulty in determining the reasons for its current 


• The start up company aspects of it are less clear than what I 
had hoped they would be. I had hoped I would start out 
within a period not too long to tell whether we were 
successful or not or needed more feedback. This is long 
and drawn out. It is difficult to determine cause and effect. 

In the statement below, Sam indicates a familiarity with 

Senge's concept of creative tension. With this tension greater 

creativity occurs, according to Senge (Senge, 1990a). 

• The model that I operate on in my own head is the 

creative tensions stuff right between current reality and an 
alternative future vision. In my work, I try to create tension 
between the two, that is present and future, so that it results in a 
legitimate attempt to change. I try to make a big contrast there in 
order to shake people up and really get them to think it is worth 
going about this change without saying that I don't think it is 
worth it and being honest about that. Then once I get to a place 
where there is a legitimate and tense change, then I try to use a 
little different approach which is a much more supportive 
approach. I tell them, 'you did it before and you were so 
successful at it that you can do that again.' You go from a big 
contrast to actual similarities. 

Understanding the Need for Communication 

Sam seems to feel that communication is not what it should be, 
not only at the senior level, but also throughout the company. Sam 
says communication is "minimal almost everywhere." This is a 
significant theme for Sam throughout his interview. He returns 
frequently to it, 

• I don't want Rob to get angry right, because if he gets angry 
other people are going to know it and they are not going to 
tell what they truly believe. Until they are able to tell him 
what they truly believe we are never going to be able to 
move on from there, we just won't talk to each other. 

• I would like to see people talking more about what is on 
their minds, not so much what they thdnk they 
[management] want to hear about but what they think they 
should be talking about. I would like to have people 
talking more about the issues that are most important to 
them. So that people would really begin to develop 
stronger understandings for one another. I personally 
think it is a key to the success of the company. 

In the following exchange, Sam states that the fact that there is 

not much communication in the company needs to be opened for 


• [In response to the question, 'So you think that people Rob 
works with, at least at his level, don't feel free enough to 
really express their ideas or feelings?'] Not yet, that's what 
we need, and I am not talking long term, I'm talking in 
the next, you know, 30 to 60 days. We need to challenge 
this thing pretty seriously [ the lack of meaningful 
communication]. We don't need to resolve it, we need to 
open it up for discussion. I think they believe that we are 
going to resolve it quickly. If we go into it with that 
attitude, there are going to be winners and losers. 


• My goal or endgame is to try to get people talking to each 
other and telling you the truth all the time. 

In the following two statements, Sam indicates his belief that 

meaningful communication results in innovation and innovation will 

lead to a competitively successful business. 

• I think you are going to get a more diverse array of view 
points on a given topic, a greater array of viewpoints and 
therefore options. I think that you are going to get more 
creative options and I think you are going to get more out 
of the box tj^-pe options. I tiaink you are going to be able to 
challenge the tilings that people have habitually accepted 
to be the status quo. 

• Because I don't think it is commonplace, I don't think that 
it is common. I don't think that most of the business 
organizations you walk into you really find people talking 
directly, openly, truthfully, and fearlessly, with one 
another and I think the companies who are able to learn 
that capability are going to have people with more 
meaningful relationships with one another, and I think 
if s going to be a competitive advantage from a business 
point of view. I think the people who work there will find 
it to be a more rewarding work environment. 

Understands the Need for Teamwork 

Sam believes that team building is the responsibility of all 
members, not just the leader as indicated in the statement below. 

• I don't think it's Rob's sole responsibiHty to make sure the 
management team works cohesively. I think if s 
everybody's responsibility. They need to come to that table 
with that attitude, that they have ownership too and they 


want to make this an effective team. It's not going to work 
that way unless they really want that to happen and make 
their contribution as well. 

• I thought it all needed to be talked about. Everyone was 
given a good job. There was a lot of old stuff that we 
brought over here with us and we brought it over here 
long before it kind of blew up on us. It was clear that there 
were different fractions [sic] developing in the company. 
People thought they could create something new; this isn't 

Self Perception 

Self Awareness 

The following statements demonstrate Sam's self awareness 
about himself in the start up company. He appears to have a strong 
interest in self learning and having the opportunity to be in a start 
up with the challenges that ensue from that situation. 

• I always wanted to start my own company. I didn't know if 
I would end up starting my own company, and this may 
be my closest realistic opportunity in doing that. 

• What's challenging about it is that there are so many 
different cultures, and the reason why I came here is that I 
personally thought it was more interesting in the kind of 
culture that we could create here. It's somewhat de- 
motivating to go back to the other culture [the parent 
company]. I don't want the other culture [the parent 
company] to feel that way or to sense that. 

• But the reason that I came here was because I thought I 
would have a greater opportunity to influence and might 
be able to make a difference. 


• I think there would be a ton to learn and I just couldn't 
resist passing it up. 

• I really enjoy it. I mean, I definitely feel challenged but 
also I am definitely enjoying it. 

Sam seems quite introspective and the following statements 
demonstrate his questioning of his role and the pressures he feels to 
contribute in fixing the problems he sees. 

• I don't feel as though I can fix everything you know, I 

can't take personal responsibility for everything the way it 
is or should be. I can't accept that responsibility. 

• I'm trying to figure out what I should be doing. 

• I need to be a lot more aggressive. 



In a number of ways, all three managers seem to agree about 
what actions need to be taken for the new company to be successful. 
However, between the CEO and the other two managers there are 
significant differences in their perceptions of what is actually taking 
place in the organization. The CEO sees himself as taking actions to 
deal with communications, teamwork, and leadership, while the two 
managers do not perceive the CEO as taking effective actions in these 
areas. The CEO perceives that he has achieved transformational 
change in the new company; the managers see that many aspects of 
the former culture from the parent company still pertains. 

Nature of Organizations 
None of the three explicitly discuss management planning or 
organizational systems and processes. Rob speaks in generalizations 
about this subject Ralph relates his experience both in the old 
company and new one, researching and writing strategic plans for 
the new business. Sam does not discuss this subject in any way. 

The Nature of People in Organizations 

Rob talks extensively about interpersonal dynamics that 
existed in the parent company and that former president's impact on 
the organizational climate. Rob states that this whole effort involving 
a start up enterprise is very difficult work and could fail unless 

interpersonal dynamics are successful. On the other hand, Rob's 
managers Ralph and Sam perceive him as being remote from his 
people. They do not see him as understanding employees' motives or 
needs in the organization. They see him as detached and impersonal. 
They believe that this is not the way it should be and that Rob needs 
to connect with his people on a personal level, to be more hands-on 
and less isolating of himself with senior management. They both 
admire Rob particularly for his honesty and hard work in bringing 
the new company into existence. They both perceive Rob as needing 
to be in control far too much. 

The Nature of Planned Organizational Change 
All three interviewees demonstrate an understanding of 
planned organizational change concepts and principles. Rob seems 
particularly strong in his vision of the future of his industry and the 
changes that will be required. He discusses the need for his 
organization to be adaptive and stresses the importance of 
communication and teamwork. Ralph and Sam also discuss these 
same concepts and principles and Sam mentions the advantage to 
companies that are able to implement these. However, they do not 
see Rob carrying out these change concepts and principles nor having 
the ability to do so unless he makes significant changes in his modus 

Self Perception 
Rob sees his job as leader being threefold: first, structuring the 
new business; second, strategic planning, and third, being a calming 
force in the organization. In addition, he sees his role as 

communicating information, providing opportunities for people to 
confront issues, and coacliing otliers. Rob admits to not having much 
knowledge or experience in many areas of the new business. He 
indicates he is working hard at catching up. Rob also believes that 
individuals must first transform themselves before they can 
transform their organization. To this end, during an offsite designed 
to open communication, Rob took seriously comments about his lack 
of giving positive feedback. Rob shortly announced his 
understanding of this and his desire to change the behavior. He 
asked the help of others to let him know when, in the future, he 
exhibited it. 



Senge, P. (1990a). The Fifth Discipline: The Art and Practice of the 
Learning Organization . New York: Doubleday/ Currency. 



Mary is founder, president, and CEO of a large and very 
successful marketing company. In an industry where women don't 
often rise to the top, Mary has. 

A couple of days before my interview with Mary, I received a 
personal call from her asking me if we could move the time back an 
hour. Upon entering the office, I immediately noticed the bright 
newness of the surrounding. The company had just moved into these 
offices just two weeks earlier, and there was the hectic feeling of 
setting up shop while keeping the business going. The receptionist 
told me that Mary had not yet arrived from a meeting across town, 
to have a seat, and help myself to a cold drink. She pointed to a 
large built-in triple glass door refrigerated cabinet near the entrance. 
1 asked her if I might walk around, and she indicated to go ahead. 
The impression 1 got was that this was a fun place to work. It was 
busy and exciting. Salespeople sat around bright new desks in semi- 
cubicles talking on telephones or going over papers. Marketing 
material and copies of newspaper and magazine articles were 
organized on one wall within arm's reach of the copy machines. 
Flashy brochures with photographs on glossy paper highlighted the 
professionalism and image of status and success. Most of this 
material related the success of the company in being able to satisfy 
its customers. Prominent were articles about Mary, featuring 
glamorous photographs of her. 

I returned to the reception area and a few minutes later Mary 
flew in, looked around, and immediately came over to me and 

introduced herself. Medium height, attractive, slender, blonde 
dressed for success, Mary was warm and outgoing in her greeting. 
Almost as quickly, she excused herself to speak with two people I 
had earlier seen taking measurements of walls and windows. I 
noticed how Mary placed her hand on the arm of the young man to 
whom she was speaking. I overheard her say, "You make the 
decision. I have confidence in you." 

Mary took me into her office, but suddenly realized someone 
else was sitting at her desk. An employee was using her office as a 
quiet place to work in the midst of the moving-in turmoil. Instead of 
using her office, Mary showed me to a small glass enclosed meeting 
room that, as yet, had no door. 

My perception of Mary in our interview was that she was 
thoughtful and honest in her comments, which were often revealing 
and not altogether flattering to herself. She was animated, with a 
great deal of energy. Although, she often was self deprecating, she 
seemed supremely self confident. She seemed warm and made me 
feel comfortable right away. She would periodically place her hand 
on my arm to emphasize a point. Strangely, she did not sustain eye 
contact, often looking elsewhere as we talked. 

Mary discussed her three major areas of concerns. First, she 
feels the need to manage potential customers' and the public's image 
of her and her company. Second, she is concerned about controlling 
her business. Third, is what she calls "people technology," that is, 
considering employee issues, giving them the opportunity to do their 
best and thereby get the most out of them. 

The Nature of Organizations 

Management Planning 

Mary seems not to focus a great deal of her time on planning. 
She states that she has not had to devote much time to this activity. 
Mary's approach to planning is pragmatic. Determine what the goals 
are, determine who is best at achieving the goals, then tell them to go 
get it done. The following three statements demonstrate this 

• I do know that in the last three years I have found strategic 
planning to be far more difficult because I had a child for the 
first time, so my head wasn't entirely focused. But now, only 
in the last six months, I have kind of settled in and given that 
a little thought and I think it's something more than a 
reaction to a difference in size; we're bigger by 50% than we 
were four years ago and I don't think that I allowed for how 
to do that. Not that the planning is necessary. But probably, 
theoretically there should be a need for more planning if 
you're bigger and I don't find that to be the case. I think you 
have to almost make your plans more pure and simple, 
because I found that when I used to have myself and three 
managers that went on a retreat, we would hammer out our 
plans for next year, test them, and come back, and every piece 
of it got done. 

• And the last time we did it, I just took my strongest men, 
whatever, who are the best marketers, the best from an 
accountability aspect. I assigned them the planning task and 
said, 'This is your thing, you gotta make it happen for me. I 
want to know how you're doing, okay?' And it happened. 

• But if you think about it, I took like twelve people away and 
spent three days on all this stuff, and what I was really doing 
there? I figured out the three most important things, and put 


my best three men on it, and they skinned the cat for me and 
got it done. So I felt a lot better last year than the year before 
about the planning process. 

Mary did not directly address organizational systems and 
processes in our conversation, although she had opportunities to do 

The Nature of People in Organizations 

Understanding the Need for Rewards and Recognition 

Mary demonstrates understanding for the need to give rewards 
and recognition to her employees. In the following example, she 
explains that she believes it's important recognize support people in 
the office. 

• We started giving out trips to Europe and we would say, 'You 
write in who you think the best person is in your office as far 
as helping everybody.' I called it the 'Good Guy Award.' And 
every office gets to select one person and we send that one 
person with their spouse or their friend away for a week to 
Europe or wherever they want. I publicly award them because 
I think it's a more positive way to do it. You know, rewarding 
and making a spectacle of how we treasure versus killing the 
enemy. So I think it's a better way. The other way sits in the 
1920's somewhere intimidating and browbeating employees. 

Organizational Dynamics 

In the following statement, Mary demonstrates understanding 
of interpersonal dynamics among her salespeople. Although, 
salespeople are very independent, she knows they need to support 
each other, and she has figured out a way to make it happen. 


• I mean it sounds so easy now, but I really thought long and 
hard about it from the day each salesman was hired. So I 
created a marriage from the beginning, so a new kid on the 
block met the same new kid on the block from the other side 
of the tracks. So, they were partners from the beginning. But 
to get to that point, I spent two years lecturing to people, 
'Remember Mary from the West Side of town? Remember 
Joe from the East Side? He's a nice guy; he can help you.' I 
gave little cocktail parties so they'd meet each other but it 
didn't work. The only way it worked, was to put them in the 
same training classes, like a camp almost. And then I never 
had to worry about the communication. They sought each 
other out. So I think you do have some real calls on how to 
make that happen organizationally. Yes, I guess that's the 
point I'm making. 

Understanding People in Organizations 

In her interview, Mary often mentions how other people make 
significant contributions to the company and further, she recognizes 
that people want that opportunity. The following statements discuss 
two entirely different situations that demonstrate her understanding 
of this topic. 

• So you can plan that way but then there is a more subtle way 
which I think is based on mutual respect. Like just making 
people feel like the little guy is as important as the big guy and 
his idea is very often the winner. And it really works. I get 
most of my good ideas from people who aren't in the 
advertising department, but are people who just kind of 
think, 'Hey wouldn't that be cool.' So, that's where my eye is. 
I don't know if that's the way you are supposed to do it. But 
for me, that's the way it works. 

• We waylaid the whole agenda because one great salesperson 
challenged the company and what it stood for, and what is 


our philosophy, and how do we communicate that to the 
outside? She was the most negative, chronic complainer I 
have ever heard in my life. I wanted to shove it down her 
throat. She was raving about our arch rival in the business. 

One ad they did a good job on and frankly they are not even 
marketers. We do like tons of great things, and she's raving 
about this like a traitor. I wanted to kill her. But then I 
swallowed my rage and I said simply to the rest of the table, 
there were maybe fifteen of us there, all salespeople and I said, 
'Let me ask you, let's put it out on the table, what do you 
think is the philosophy of this company?' I decided to give 
her theory a chance and guess what I found out? There was 
no philosophy. I had a philosophy that I thought everybody 
understood. But obviously, I failed to communicate it and it 
hadn't been integrated, and that played tricks in my mind. In 
reality it didn't exist. So this brave lady, in being a chronic 
bitching complainer, helped us. 1 realized that there was 
confusion. Everybody had a different idea. If I had a clear idea 
but nobody else had it, so what good was it? So, what we did 
in that meeting was to shelve the whole agenda and I got flip 
charts out that we could write on and we did nothing but 
brainstorm for two hours flat on what we believed was our 

The Nature of Planned Organizational Change 

Understanding Resistance 

Apparently, Mary's approach to dealing with resistance to 
change could be described as first creating an environment of trust 
and honesty, second, persist in your efforts, but don't go overboard 
in trying to force the change, and third, negotiate with those affected 
and listen to their resistance. 


• So they objected to the advertising proof and they certainly 
thought they looked silly posing with dogs and people. But I 
stood up and said, 'I'm gonna run this campaign for two 
months. I promise you if you don't like it in two months, I 
will pull it. ' And all I wanted to do was buy three to four 
weeks' time till they started getting a reaction from the public. 
And then people knew them, saw them in the ad. 'You look 
beautiful.' 'Oh that was such a clever ad.' 'Oh, I love the fact 
you're a power salesperson.' And then what happened, the 
resistance disappeared. So I was right; they were wrong, but 
because I acted, and I meant it, because I wasn't gonna kill 
myself over this, to give a little space, it took care of itself is 
what I'm saying. 

Understanding Leadership and Management 

In our interview, Mary stated that she didn't know what kind 
of a leader she was nor, was she able to give a name to her 
leadership style. 

• What I'm saying is, I think if leadership is about loyalty, then I 
must be a great leader because people really would follow me 
anywhere. I am convinced of that. 

• I think I am a very good motivator or leader through 
storytelling, if that's leading. I don't know if that's leading or 
motivating, or whatever. 

In the next statement, Mary perceives distinctions between 

business men and women about what they focus on in thinking about 

business issues. Mary believes that people issues are the most 

important, while she believes that men focus on a territorial 


• I have to say that all the people I know in business, and many 
contacts are with men, unfortunately, and I believe in my 


inner self that there is a real difference between the way 
women run businesses and men. I really believe that, so I 
have to separate that out. When I bring up business issues to 
the table, when I'm in a forum with all these guys, when they 
all bring issues to the table, my focus tends to be on the people 
issue part of the problem. Because I am always think that at 
the root is somebody's ego, territory, or something like that. 
So that's where my thoughts go. I find that the guys don't 
focus on that much. Most of the guys are much more focused 
on territorial aspects, and I know it's stereotyping. 

In the next two statements Mary demonstrates her 

contradictory thinking about delegation. In the first statement, she 

speaks of her hands-off approach, but then later talks about her 

needs to be involved and to control. 

• But my other offices I haven't been to since the day I opened 
them. I never visit them. I don't ask for anything from them. 

They run it. They run their own business. 

• The only thing I ask is when we jointly decide on policy, that 
it's disseminated and we have the same common policy 
where we must have policy and I'm anti policy, wherever I 
can be. So, I think I give them tremendous latitude and 
tremendous independence. However, I'm an anal son of a 
gun on something like 1 just described. [Interviewer, "I want 
to point out you were talking about your ability to delegate 
and then this sounds like maybe a step back in delegating?"] 
Definitely. It's exactly opposite. It's like, let me delegate the 
responsibility of running the office and recruiting for the 
future but let me tell you how to do it. Delegating, please. It's 
ridiculous. Okay, and yet I'm also told by my managers that I 
am a phenomenal manager because I think in a broad sense I 
really am. But, if they let me in on the details, this is the 
thing, if they let me in on the details, I'm gonna get involved. 
But I generally am not involved in any of the details. 

Understanding Innovation 

Mary apparently thinks that innovation happens by first 
creating the proper work environment. If this is done, innovation 
just happens. She believes that key factor in a creative environment 
is a free flow of information, as described in the following three 

• I don't think the hard part is having the idea and planning for 
it to take place. I think of the structure and processes of the 
business being like a basket that you just drop the ideas into, 
it's already in place. I thinlc the hard part is getting the ideas. 

• I for one have never had an original idea in my life, right. 
However, I think I have really built an organization where 
people listen to each other's ideas. I think the whole key in 
innovation is not structuring to accommodate innovation, I 
think it's structuring yourself to hear it. 

• I think I am trying to re-emphasize again what I just said a 
minute ago. I think that it's the day-to-day openness that is 
the key to innovation. Not about organizational structure, 
per se. Okay, if you don't have the organization in place not 
to execute anything, maybe that's a problem. But we've 
always had that. I have always been very organized in the 
structure part. But it's the other part that I think is the right 

• I think where I deserve the credit was that I had created an 
environment where Ellen, who does nothing but punch 
numbers all day, felt that she would be heard, respected, or not 
laughed about, and sending me a note about what she 
thought was good. 

Understanding the Need for Communication 

In the next statement, Mary strikingly describes her 
recognition of potential communication problems in opening a second 

• When I had one office, I had a great team. When I owned my 
second office, one in a different part of town, the same town, 
not a mile a part, I figured no big deal, no problem in 
coordinating work between the two offices, right. 
Communication proved to be more difficult than I 
anticipated. I really had to acknowledge the fact that we were 
not one company anymore. 

Understanding the Need for Team Work 

In Mary's thinking, small task teams get the job done. 

• That's my style. I always form small teams. Work task teams. 
It gets the job done; it happens versus spreading the task out. 

Use Perception to Create Success 

Mary is the only interviewee in all of the cases who discusses 
the importance of creating image and the need for a perception of 
success. She is blunt and open about her focus on this aspect of her 

• I know how to create an image and I firmly believe that if you 
create an image, you don't have to worry about the reality 
because the reality takes care of itself. 

• I just say, let me convince the world that we are 'it.' And if I 
convince the world we are 'it,' somehow everything else is 
going to fall into place. And it always works that way, 
without exception. 


• I really feel so strong about what I do. I spend all my time 
focusing on image, not that I am, unfortunately, too much 
into detail, but I know what my priority is. My priority is 
getting the baloney out there and then after that, I just have 
blind faith that somehow it all works out. It really does you 

More on this topic is discussed in the Self Perception category 


Self Perception 

Self Awareness 

The following statement refers to a past event that Mary still 
feels bad about. She thinks that there are better solutions to dealing 
with dishonest employees, solutions that don't demean the 

• I think in hindsight, in my youthfulness, I think it was cruel 
to that sales woman who I fired. Well everybody makes 
mistakes, but if her mistake was one of dishonesty, it was a 
foolish mistake and there's a lot of mistakes, I think to use her 
as a spectacle was probably far less than kind. If I had thought 
long enough and if 1 hadn't been fired up emotionally over it, 
which I was like a yellow bronco, I think I could have thought 
of three other solutions. I think I could of thought of many 
solutions, so I wouldn't take those actions now. I just 
wouldn't do it. It just seems too mean. 

• [In response to a question.] I'd have to really think that 
through. I think through really really well when I draw little 
pictures for myself, little circles with lines, little this and this. 
I put everything on index cards. I reshuffle. Thaf s the way I 
reorganize my business always. So, I really just have to go 
through that exercise. 


Understanding One's Own Role 

Mary seems to see herself as top promoter of herself and her 
company and chief instigator to shake things up and get people to 
think about new ideas. 

• I really know how to market well, okay. I think my one gift 
and my only gift is that I know how to create an image. 

• I see my job purely as starting fires; I don't want to tend fires, 
and not because of laziness, but because then I could start 
more fires. 

Seeing Oneself as a Leader 

Mary believes she is a very good leader. She thinks that her 
people are loyal to her and will follow her under any circumstances 
as demonstrated in the next statement. In the second statement 
Mary describes that the reason for this loyalty is perhaps because 
she demonstrates so much caring for her employees. 

• I am a good leader ... During the recession and business was 
so poor, because we were very near bankruptcy you know, I 
had huge overhead and I had just gone through a big 
expansion, but I'll tell you, my managers, who are not affluent 
people (you know that managers do not tend to be the rich 
kids. The rich kids are the hot shot sales people unfortunately) 
offered to work for free and meant it and I had them half 
work for free. [When they heard this.] My creditors ceased 
sending me bills. I mean it was amazing the good will that I 
didn't know I had. 

• What I'm saying is, I think if the leadership is about loyalty 
then I must be a great leader because people really would 


follow me anywhere. I am convinced of that. [Interviewer: 
"And of course, the question is why are they so willing to 
follow you?"] Oh, because I think, oh, I don't know. I guess 
you'd have to ask somebody other than me. I think I really 
care about everybody. I mean, there are times when I don't 
care. I'm exhausted. You know. But, I think I genuinely put 
my heart and soul into my work and I think that they know I 
care about them. I think when you care about somebody, I 
guess the chances are they're gonna care back. Maybe it's as 
simple as that. It's like being a good mother. The kids are 
gonna love you. Uhm, yeah. 

Mary demonstrates in the next two statements strong 

confidence in her leadership and business acumen. In the third and 

fourth statements, Mary seems to indicate that she is a natural born 

leader, in many aspects, not just business. She also sees herself as a 

teacher and motivator; yet, on both of these, she expresses 


• He [Jack Welsh, president and CEO of General Electric] stood 
up there and spoke for 45 minutes, came right into the crowd, 
and he is a VERY successful business man, and he gave such 
an ABC philosophy or theory on his feelings about how to 
build a successful business, and I'm telling you he told me 
everything that I practiced. So I almost could have written his 
script. And for me it was such a high because, I figured either 
this guy is shitting me which is still a possibility, but he didn't 
seem it. He was very genuine. 

• He [Jack Welsh] made me feel tremendously confident about 
growing my business. In fact, he refueled me because the only 
trepidation that holds me back sometimes is the fear that I am 
going to lose control. You know, I have a control thing, so 
losing control for me, going too fast, I feel I'm choking and I 
panic. He gave me great confidence that I can have the same 


fitness in my business as a giant company; the same as if I 
were small. He made me think I was doing everything right, 
you know? 

• I honestly don't know what my leadership style is. I'm very 
confident. I'm a very good leader and the reason I am 
confident is not because of the business. I mean it's my 
business and I'm in charge, huh? But I am confident I am a 
leader because in anything I get involved in I usually wind up 
leading it. And to tell you the truth, I just don't want to. I 
really don' t want something else on my back. 

• I know I teach well, and I am a great sales motivator, and I 
don't know if that falls in the leadership category but I think 
that honestly is where my effect on the company really is. I 

think when I meet with my sales people which is only twice a 
year, at my big sales meeting, which I would eliminate because 
it's so much pressure for me, I'm almost physically sick for 
two weeks before the meeting. I feel this great expectation. 
All the sales people come together and my job solely (you 
know, I have managers, and other people doing other parts of 
the meeting), is to stand up there and get people 
OOOOOOOOHHHHH! friendly, you know and that's not so 
easy to do for me. So it's a lot of pressure and 1 hate it, I hate 
it. Yet every time I do it, everyone tells me how incredible I 

In the brief statement below, Mary indicates perhaps 
ambivalence or a sudden insight and then follows it with a clear 
statement about her primary goal. 

• I don't care about the power. Well, that's not true, I think I do 

• I care about the power, not as it pertains to my organization, 
but I care about the power that I have to be the top in my 
industry. That's my goal; I'm not there yet. It's driving me 


nuts. I work for it everyday of my life, okay? So that's caring 
about power, isn't it? I wouldn't have labeled it power. I'd 
say, "I want to be the number 1 leader. Yeah, it's about 
achievement; I've hit it. I'm the top dog. I do it better than 
everybody else. I won the contest. I'm really competitive. 
But if somebody said, "What's your thing power? I was never 
associated with the word. Control? It's my middle name. 

Philosophy of Life 

Mary's business acumen appears to be counter intuitive. For 
example, in the second statement, she expresses the idea that not 
focusing on money will result in making more money. 

• I overpay anybody worthy of being over paid. I'd rather over 
pay cause I know I'm going to get much more out of them. 

You know. That money will come back three fold. I don't 
know if its really true. I can't really measure it. But I really 
believe it. 

• I know quite a few businessmen at this juncture and they are 
very focused on the money aspects of things. I never focus on 
the money. I don't give a damn about the money. And 
somehow I manage to make a lot of money. So that means 
I'm just lucky so far, uhm? But I feel like if I focus on the 
people and everything is right there, the money takes care of 
itself, and I really do find it to be that way. 

Creating Reality 

Mary demonstrates the belief that you first create an image 
and by doing this, reality will follow, in other words, perception 
creates reality. 


• My salespeople started acting like they were experts, because 
they were rising to the occasion. And then we got more sales, 
and we enlarged, and enlarged, and enlarged, and now we 
really do have the widest based market statistical report in the 
industry. And it's soUd as a rock, based on pure fact. And 
they are not numbers that anybody could challenge. 
However, we are not getting any more publicity now than we 
were then, simply because we acted like we were the experts 
then and everybody fell for it. And we act like it now, and we 
really are, and everybody is still falling for it. 

• You know, what I find absent, and I feel I'm very different 
from the other guy, is I always focus on outside impressions 
first before anything else I do. I read my plans in my mind 
against how the public or consumer, or my customer or 
whatever would react versus how my inside [the company) is 
gonna make it happen or even how much the inside would 
react. I'm very focused on the outside. I think my whole 
emotion is towards image-making on the outside. I don't find 
that among the men that I know running their businesses. I 
don't find them very savvy in the image making area. I don't 
think that's a male /female thing. I think some people just 
don't focus enough on that and I think that's the power part. 

I think it's the least work and the biggest thing, because it's 
bull shiL 



Linda is the Sales Director for 260 sales people located in six 
locations in the same urban area. She reports to the company's 
president and to Mary, the CEO. I met Linda in her new glass-walled 
office. It was pleasantly decorated with plants, pictures and small 
mementos. Her company had just moved into the new facility a few 
weeks prior to this interview and people were still getting their new 
offices organized. Linda is middle-aged, conservatively dressed, 
pleasant, and warm. 

Nature of Organizations 
Linda did not directly discuss an understanding of management 
planning or organizational systems and processes. 

Nature of People in Organizations 

Understanding Need for Achievement 

In her interview, Linda views achievement from both the 
perspective of her independent salespeople and the firm. The 
salespeople need to achieve in order to get paid and the firm needs 
them to achieve for it to be successful. 

• Our revenue goals for each salesperson at a desk is that they 
produce a certain amount gross to the firm. That's really their 
goal, and our goal is to have each desk produce at least that. 
But of course, we want to do much better than that, and you 
know while that sounds like maybe it's not such a tough goal, 
it's a tough business and to get a salesperson, especially if 
they're new, producing quickly is a task, I mean it doesn't 
always work. Out of six people you might hire maybe half are 


great ones that you end up staying with, and maybe half fall 
by the wayside, but that's why you hire new people because 
they bring in freshness to the business that some of the older 
more experienced salespersons lose. 

Understanding People in Organizations 

Linda perceives the independent sales force as being "different 
sort of folks." She finds them temperamental, which she believes is 
due to the stressful nature of their business as demonstrated in the 
two statements below. 

• They can be quite temperamental about certain things. I like 
all of these people here and I enjoy working with them, but 
they can get out of hand because of the stresses they're under, 

and the things that fall through, to have a deal one day, and 
not have it the next. It's stressful. 

• But it's hard; this is a tough business and it's commission 
sales; you have to find the people who can afford to sit at a 
desk for 6 months without bringing in a pay check who want 
to work hard, but those are money goals. 

Linda seems to understand the pressures and stresses that the 

sales force is subject to and how creating a pleasant setting in the 

office can help them be more comfortable. 

• They are independent contractors; I wouldn't say they were 
loners; I would say they are entrepreneurial, because most of 
my people love coming into the office. The work you do is 
actually alone, because if you're working with a customer, 
you're with that customer, but your on your own. But 
coming into the office atmosphere for most of my people is 
part of what they like about it. They are with others like 
themselves who are in a very stressful business; you don't 
make a sale you don't get a paycheck; it has a big impact. Yet, 


they like to come into the office and one of things that I think 
we try to do here is create an environment that is a pleasing 
one for them because it's stressful out there in the field and 
for them to like where they spend their time when they're not 
with customers, and so forth. I think it's an important part of 
distinction between companies. They've named their rows. 
They've become good friends here. 

View of Mary 

Linda sees the CEO, Mary as someone who is terrific to work 
for. Linda portrays Mary as fair, honest, trustworthy, and one who 
treats her employees very well. She describes Mary's management 
style as positive with no intimidation. According to Linda, Mary 
trusts her employees and doesn't interfere with them if everything is 
going well, as indicated in the two statements below. 

• [In response to the question, "What is Mary's impact on the 
operations of the business? For example, some CEO's have to 
have their hands in everything and the result of that is they 
sometimes stifle people and sometimes cause people to feel 
like they're not trusted or not competent."] Well, let me tell 
you that here it is the opposite of that. It is totally the opposite 
of that. Mary is a wonderful manager. She is a person who 
treats her people so well, both managers and sales people, that 
she creates a loyalty that doesn't exist in a lot of places. When 
she was more involved in a hands-on way, when I first started 
in management, I would go do a job and I'd come back and I'd 
go home and I'd have a bouquet of flowers saying thank you 
for doing a wonderful job. And after you go through that for a 
couple of years of somebody really patting you on the back 
putting their trust in you, you start saying this is such a 
positive management style; it's not an intimidation 
management style. She doesn't hire you unless she trusts 
you, and if she trusts you, then she is assuming that you are 


going to be doing what you're supposed to be doing and, if she 
wants to question you on something, she'll come. She 
doesn't have to be right all the time; she's willing to let you be 
right if she thinks you are, and to tell you if she thinks you're 

• I was also a manager at another office for some time; I started 
out in this office as a salesperson and then I went into 
management. Then she moved me to another office. And 
it's very different because it's an office that she's not in, nor 
does she come to, and she told me when I started over there, 
and it was my first office management job, and I hadn't been a 
sales director; I had been an assistant here, but when I moved 
over there as a manager, she said the best complement she 
could pay me was to never hear from her. She paid me a 
compliment because I didn't hear from her very often, and 
occasionally I started to say I hope I'm doing okay, because I 
don't hear from her and I started to miss her a little bit. You 
know, she makes us feel like we own it. She doesn't treat us 
as one of her employees, she makes me feel very proud to be 
doing what we're doing and who we're doing it for. So it's a 
great environment; it's terrific. 

Nature of Planned Organizational Chang e 

Perception of Change 

Linda perceives transformational changes having taken place 
over the years in the company. She mentions the firm's rapid 
growth, its doubling of the office space, and the computerizing of the 
business as examples, as described below. 

• You couldn't be talking to a better company for examining 
transformational change. I started in this company in 1989 
and I believe since that year the size of this company has 
probably doubled. That's a lot of growth in eight years. I 


started out as s salesperson and we were across the street. Not 
only has the size of the company doubled, but the size of this 
office has doubled. We moved across the street and have 
gone from 8000 square feet to 16,000 sq. ft. Mary is on the 
leading edge of everything that is going on in this business. 
People love her for it; people hate her for it. Competitors hate 
her; the people who are in the company love her for it. We 
have gone from using computers for inventory to putting top 
of the line computers, both hardware and software, in our 
offices for our salespeople. We have gone from DOS based 
and windows based. We are now designing our own 
programs and we are the first ones to have e-mail. We're the 
first ones to have Internet access at each salesperson's desk. 
The Internet has brought us into a whole new way of doing 
business. But the mere fact that that market changes from one 
year to the next brings you into another transformation. So 
there's been lots of transformation in the eight years that I've 
been here. She started 25 years ago, and just imagine the 
transformation that went on during the first 18 years or so. 
But it's been very, very exciting. Some of it's difficult for 
these salespeople. The ones that have been here for a long 
time are having a difficult time with this new computer 
thing. You know it's different for them to check e-mail, to 
learn Widows, to learn the word processing or 97. They were 
very comfortable doing what they were doing. We just 
moved this office from across the street and they sat in those 
desks for 10 years; this was a transformation. For them to pack 
up their things, as much as they wanted to move, it was a 
difficult move for them. To seat them in a new seat, to get 
used to new surroundings, it's been total transformations in 
this company. 

Linda also perceives that the business itself has dramatically 
changed over the years, mainly due to the changing market. In 
response to these changes, according to Linda, Mary has initiated 


certain leading edge programs that have made her competitors 
envious. Linda says: 

• The job itself has changed. In the time that Mary's been in 
this business, she's seen demand for products fluctuate 
markedly. And that's in a span of 23 years and it's gone up 
and down in that 23 years. We were enjoying the height of 
the market in 1987 and Mary moved into a new office and at 
that point the phones stopped ringing. So we went through a 
period for like 4 years where you really could not sell. So now 
we're back to where now you can't keep up with demand. 

• So these are the conditions of the market that change, and 
that has changed the way salespeople have done business. 
Mary, I'm happy to say, has been the leader in much of this. 
She's a leader in this business and it's one of the reasons that 
other firms don't like her because she was instrumental in 
getting customers to say, 'Hey, this is a pretty good idea; you're 
right; it is the best way to get the best price.' But it is, we have 
a philosophy that that is true and we live by that. 

Understanding Innovation 

As her statements demonstrate, Linda perceives her company 
as being innovative. She describes innovation in terms of utilizing 
new technologies such as computers and the Internet. Linda believes 
that her company forces competitors to try and catch up to them. 

• We've made other people say, 'Oh my God, they're on the 
rise.' You know she made them play catch up and people 
don't like to do that, not when you've been in the number 
one position, you don't like to do that. We're not the largest; 
we're the second largest but we think we're the best. 

• She does very different kinds of ads. When you see other 
advertising, they're very stodgy. Mary has a sense of humor 


and she uses it. Our web site is the best and we're going, that's 
another transformation; we're going full force with the web 
site we have probably the best web site in our industry and 

were bringing it in-house; were not even going to have a 
provider anymore so that we can make changes immediately. 
We can change inventory in a second and it's exposed to the 
world; can't beat that. 

Understanding Management and Leadership 

In the statement below, Linda demonstrates an understanding 
of how the leader of an organization influences organizational 
behavior. Linda perceives Mary as a leader who is good to her 
employees and who rewards them for their efforts. Throughout this 
interview, Linda indicates that she believes Mary is the one who is 
the leader, while she manages people as discussed in the Self 
Perception category. 

• [In response to the question, 'And if you were really wrong, 
does she comes back and say it?] She'll say, 'I told you it 
wasn't going to work.' But really, she doesn't try to make you 
feel badly. That's not what Mary's about; she really isn't and 
you know any company's behavior starts from the top and 
with Mary it starts from the top and I think it filters all the 
way down into clerical. She sends her clerical staff two days a 
year on a day of fun, on her. She has given them her house 
for a weekend. We have so much clerical now we go to a 
resort now; she sends them masseurs and masseuses and she 
just knows how to, without having to pay somebody a 
million dollars, make them want to work for you. I think 
people who work here take pride in this company because of 

Understanding the Need for Communication 

Linda stresses the theme of the importance of listening to the 
sales force. In the statement below, she describes a formal process 
the company has for the purpose of listening to employees. 

• We have at the company something called the Advisory 
Council, and it's comprised of all the managers of the offices 
and two elected representatives of each office. We meet once 
a month and we discuss issues. And if we have something 
that we want to change, as a matter of fact, we took that 
commission change to the Advisory Council and said this is 
what were going to do and we're letting you know that, to sort 
of get a feel. I don't think you can ever get a total feel, because 
when you're talking about two people out of this office to get a 
feel, it's not totally accurate, but at least we had put it there 
and that was the forum to do it. That's the way big changes 
are made; when we change advertising policies that's also a 
hot topic; advertising budgets, whatever, that's also 
something that we'll put out to the salespeople first. I believe 
that the salespeople feel that they have a say. It doesn't mean 
they're going to get their way but they can voice it. They can 
walk into this office and say that they do not like the way 
we're doing such and such, and I'll let them tell me why. 

Understanding Reward and Recognition 

Throughout her interview, Linda frequently mentions more 
subtle ways Mary reinforces positive behavior. In the first 
statement below, Linda relates a formal process for rewarding 
clerical support. The second statement demonstrates Linda's reaction 
to Mary's informal recognition of desired behavior. 

• [In response to the question, "It's not just money is it?"]. No it 
isn't for me and I think there are many people like me too. It 

isn't always just money. Sometimes it is, and you can't reach 
those people with this style if it's just money unless they're 


just such superstars, and they're making so much money that 
it doesn't matter. But, you know, a pat on the back is worth a 

• When somebody is really patting you on the back putting 
their trust in you, you really appreciate it 

Understanding the Need for Team Work 

In describing her working relationship with Mary, it seems 
unclear if Linda regards it in terms of teamwork. However, Linda 
seems to perceive that their relationship is the basis of their ability 
to function well together. 

• [In response to the question, "What do you see as your 
working relationship with Mary, how would you describe 
that?"] I'd describe it as comfortable, as an honest one. I think 
she trusts me and I trust her and I think she probably doesn't 
like my cluttered office. I have too many plants, too many 
chachkas. Well, it's my office Mary; get out of here. I thinks 
our relationship is built on trust and she knows how loyal I 
am. She trusts me and I feel that I can go to her and say, 'Mary 
I know you want me to do this but I have to teU you I feel like 
it's the wrong thing to do.' 'Linda, I hear you, but you know 
what I think, it's the right thing to do.' She'll treat me that 
way, 'I'm going to ask you to do it and see what happens; if it 
doesn't work I'll back off.' 

Understanding Organizational Culture 

Linda seems to recognize the needs and motivations of the 
sales force. Even when she's critical, she is able to place their 
behavior into the context of their organizational culture as described 
in the next two statements. 


• I don't know if you noticed that refrigerator out there, they 
started coming in here saying, 'can we get Perrier without the 
lemon Ume?' And I said, 'Let me tell you something, you 
know what, let me tell you something, you get what is in 
there and if you don't like it go buy your own.' We have a 
little lunch room and a refrigerator but it doesn't have an 
automatic ice maker; do you know that one of their biggest 
concerns is an ice maker? Let me tell you something it's not 
equipped to have an ice maker; if it were I'd put one in. 'If 
you want to go out and buy some ice trays, that's great, we'll 
get some more ice trays and you can just have somebody ..., 'I 
said. No, no, no, you do it.' They are commission salespeople, 
a whole different breed. So you know that's why you have to 
keep a sense of humor, because their demands are unrealistic 
they really are. It is true; you give them an inch and they take 
a mile; give them a mile, they'll take two. Wouldn't you 
think, they don't pay a dime for these sodas, 'Can we get 
something else?' they ask. One of the things was we had to 
have pretty bottles in there; we don't put cans in there; we put 
the ice teas in there because they're pretty; we got bottles of 
coke and diet and Perrier because there prettier than some of 
the others. But they aren't satisfied. 

• [In response to the question, "What happens when things go 
wrong; is there anything that's gone wrong that has shook 
people up, shook the office up, and how did people react to 
that?"]. We changed the commission structure so that if 
somebody was moving to a higher level because the more 
they make the more they take home, and the less we take 
home. So of course they take a certain percentage and we're 
taking a certain percentage, plus all the expenses that we've 
got here, but, none the less, it works out okay, and that's the 
way our business is done. So there was a time three years ago, 
just when I'd come back to this office, that we had to 
announce that the commissions were changing and that they 
had to make more money gross commissions to take home 


that same amount. They do not like to have things taken 
away from them; they love for you to give them things but 
don't take it away. 

Self Perception 

Self Awareness 

Linda perceives herself as a "people person." She believes that 
she is seen as warm and friendly, outwardly demonstrating her 
feelings for others. She also believes that Mary promoted her into 
management because of their similarity in styles. 

• I think in some ways we relate to people in the same way, 
Mary and I. Maybe people skills is not the right word, but 
Mary and I are the kind of people that will put our arms 
around somebody and hug them. There might be other 
managers who are much less familiar with people; I have a 
sense of humor that I use in my dealings with people, and 
sometimes you have to back off from that, because they don't 
have a sense of humor and they don't like people who do, so 
you just sort of have to tailor sometimes the way you react to 
people. Basically I think we have the same kind of 'coochy 
coo' style where you don't find that in everybody and that's 
not right for everybody, but it comes natural to me and 1 think 
it comes natural to her. She's probably much better at it than I 
am but none the less we have similarities in that. I think 
when she brought me to this office, part of what she wanted 
was that. 

• [In response to the question, "Do you try to in some ways to 
emulate her style or is that natural for you?"] I do, it's natural 
for me. In many ways I have some similarities to Mary. I'm 
not as bright as she is and I couldn't have done what she did, 
but I have some of the people skills that Mary has. 

Understanding Own Role 

Once again, Linda portrays herself in the role of care-giver to 
the over-stressed sales force. 

• I see them through; hold their hand, slap them if I have to, 
you know, sit them down and say, 'You know you're 
behaving badly.' I think to be in this position is challenging, 
just how to deal with people. It's a big part of it; they know 
more than I do about the business now since I don't do that 
anymore. But, I think just dealing with them on an 
individual basis and going through their stresses with them, 
helping them through a deal, being an advisor you know. I'm 
the psychiatrist; I can see with no emotion. I'm not tied to 
money as they are. I mean I'm tied to their money, but not as 
much, as they are. So I can help them through things by 
seeing it clearer because I don't have the emotional tie to it. I 
find it very interesting because there is a different situation 
every minute. 

Seeing Oneself as Leader 

Linda seems not to perceive herself as a leader, but rather a 
sensitive manager who tries to help her workforce deal with a tough 
job. She sees Mary as the one who is the leader in the company. 

• The challenges are many, I think, and keeping the salespeople 
happy without giving away the store is a major one. They're 
very demanding; commission sales people are a whole 
different breed of people to manage. If you're paying 
somebody a salary of whatever per year, you have certain 
things you can ask of them. We don't pay them a salary; they 
pay us out of every deal that they make. So there's a fine line 
between what you can demand or ask of them and what you 
can't. I think one of the hardest things is getting everybody up 
and producing and I think that's a challenge. 1 hire a lot of 
new people in hopes of training them, not that I'm solely 


responsible for training but I'm their direct report here. We 

have training classes that we run and they do attend those 
during their training period, but I think part of my challenge 
is dealing with their stress. And not having it get to me. 



The president, Mary and the sales director, Linda, see 
themselves as playing very different roles in the organization. The 
president is the leader, motivator, innovator, image-maker, risk 
taker, and reward-giver. The sales director is primarily the care- 
giver and mental health worker for the stressed out sales force, as 
well as the cheer leader as she is responsible for ensuring that the 
sales force is fmancially successful. Mary sees the growth of the 
company as transformational as Linda echoed. 

The Nature of Organizations 

Neither Mary nor Linda discuss management planning nor 
organizational systems and processes theoretically. However, Mary 
does express her pragmatic approach to accomplishing planning and 
organizational tasks and their delegation. 

The Nature of People in Organizations 
Mary demonstrates her understanding of employees need for 
recognition and rewards. She does this through informal "pats on the 
back" as well as formal awards of trips and outings. Linda does not 
see these activities as part of her role. Instead she is the care-giver 
who tends to the overly stressed salespeople. 

Mary believes that the sales people need to help each other. 
She has developed mechanisms to encourage and support their 

personal and work interaction. Mary understands tliat people want 
to make contributions to the success of the company and she 
recognizes the different ways that they can do this. On the other 
hand, Linda believes that she understands the needs, motives, and 
problems of the sales force and uses this understanding to help them 
deal with the stresses involved with their work, so that they can be 

The Nature of Planned Organizational Change 
Mary demonstrates her understanding of concepts and actions 
that bring organizations through transformational change. She works 
at creating a work environment that supports change. This 
environment is supportive of new ideas, is one where trust and 
honesty are rewarded, and where interpersonal communications and 
information sharing are strongly encouraged. With this kind of work 
environment established problems such as resistance and 
opportunities created by innovative ideas are better dealt with. 

Linda does not discuss concepts of change or actions related to 
it. Instead, she focuses on the needs of the sales force and ways in 
which she can help them succeed. Linda perceives her company as 
being innovative and at the leading edge in its industry. She 
encourages communication which plays an important role in the 

Self Perception 
While Mary perceives herself as "a very good leader," Linda 
does not see herself as a leader. Instead, Linda sees herself as a 

manager as well as support-giver and "psychiatrist" to the sales 

Mary believes she is sensitive to the feelings of others, 
although she also perceives herself as being tough and demanding. 
Linda feels that her style is similar to Mary's and she sees herself 
and Mary as "buggers." She describes her role in a loving parental, 
although objective, way, rather than as a manager. 

Mary believes that image is everything in business and that 
her image is one that she has created and is vitally important to her. 
She extends this to her business as well. She feels that other business 
people don't pay enough attention to it. Mary says that first she 
needed to create the perception of success outside the company, and 
then real success followed. 



As stated in the first chapter, this dissertation explores 
transformational change in organizations from the perspective of the 
mental models of leaders of organizations and their middle level 
managers. Further, this dissertation explores how the mental models 
of these people affect their perception of the transformational 
changes in terms of the problems they were designed to address. 
The concept of mental models is studied as a possible tool for 
examining and analyzing leaders effectiveness in their efforts to lead 
organizational transformation and to pinpoint areas on which leaders 
need to focus their attention, in order to improve their change 
efforts. The research context is that of organizations undergoing or 
having undergone planned transformational change. 


In order to accomplish the above task, this paper describes in 
Chapter Two, a number of theories of organizational change from the 
perspectives of prominent change theorists. This is done to provide 
an understanding of what planned transformational change is within 
the context of the larger field of study of all types of change within 
organizations. The study of transformational change helps us 
examine what the mechanisms of change are, including what initiates 
change, what actually changes, and what different kinds of change 
there are. From this examination we learn that although there are 
numerous theories of planned organizational change the 


methodologies for implementing change have a great deal in 
common. This eclectic approach to studying organizational change 
enables us to match theories to specific change situations. Another 
approach, which 1 chose not to pursue, would be to attempt to 
explain organizational change from the perspective of one specific 
model. The value of the approach I did choose, that is the eclectic 
one, is from the perspective of the consultant who will be able to 
help a client understand organizational change that best fits their 

1 stated that the reason for studying change theories in the 
first place was to learn why and how change phenomena take place 
and thereby, better determine appropriate actions. Without a 
theoretical basis, our actions may well be ineffective and even 
dangerous to achieving our goals in organizational change. 

All of the theorists studied describe what actually changes 
during organizational change in very similar ways, even if their 
words are different. According to these theorists, transformational 
change occurs when an organization's basic elements of structure, 
systems, culture, and patterns of behavior change. This is 
differentiated from change that is not transformational and does not 
affect the basic elements or "deep structure" (Tushman & Romanelli, 
1985) of the organization and can be thought of as a continuation of 
a theme that only produces variations. Planned transformational 
change is partly a matter of perception and partly empirical, 
according to Kanter et al (Kanter, Stein & Jick, 1992). In other words, 
if members perceive that the changes in their organization are 
transformational in nature, then to them, they, in fact, are. Others 


view change as transformational only if it can be demonstrated 
empirically (Ven, 1986). Some researchers view transformational 
change from a systems theory approach (Lichtenstein, 1995; Ven, 
1986), or as a sporadic or punctuated series of short, rapid periods of 
change and long periods of stasis or stability (Romanelli & Tushman, 
1994; Tushman & Romanelli, 1985). 

The mechanisms or triggers for transformational change to 
occur are variously seen by different theorists as: environmental 
forces, organic or life-cycle forces, and/or political forces (Kanter et 
al., 1992); constructive motor or purposefully selected goals (Van de 
Ven, 1988); the force of logic and reason, the use of cultural norms 
and education, and/or political and legal power (Benne & Chin, 
1976a); severe crisis, environmental change, and/or new leadership 
(Romanelli & Tushman, 1994); a change in dynamic stability such as 
when order parameters are overwhelmed by crisis (Lichtenstein, 
1995); new or disconforming data that challenge existing beliefs and 
attitudes (i.e. a crisis) (Lewin, 1947); and forces primarily originating 
outside of the organization (Beckhard & Pritchard, 1992). Perhaps 
the greatest contribution these theories provide us is the opportunity 
to analyze closely and reflect on the change situation rather than 
react quickly and unwisely. 

This paper next describes theories of leadership in Chapter 
Three. This is undertaken because the leader has the greatest power 
and influence to initiate and support transformational change. In the 
study of leadership there are many theories that attempt to explain 
the impact that leaders have on their organizations, why certain 
leaders are effective while others are not, and how and why 


leadership takes place. Theories of leadership of organizations take a 
wide variety of approaches to explain their impact. We learn that 
certain styles of leadership seem more appropriate than others for 
organizations undergoing transformational change. 

We described several problems that need to be kept in mind as 
we study leadership. First, is the problem of defining leadership 
(Stogdill, 1974). We find a large number definitions from a wide 
variety of disciplines and researchers. Second, is the consideration of 
whether leadership is a result of role specialization or social 
influence. Do leaders attain their position because of special qualities 
they possess or because of processes that naturally occur in social 
systems? Third, concerns the extent of leaders' influence on 
organizational members. Fourth, is the problem of differentiating 
between leadership and management. Finally, there is the problem 
of determining what is meant by leadership effectiveness. We hold 
leaders responsible for the "success" of their organizations. But the 
problem exists as to how we measure organizational success. Is 
"success" the Wall Street definition of return on shareholder 
investment and if so, how much return is "successful" and over what 
time period should it be measured? Perhaps "success" should be 
measured by an organization's long term growth, or the extent to 
which employees gain job satisfaction? These measures do not 
necessarily mean the same thing nor are the results the same. In 
any event, this study does not undertake to examine the issue of 
success in any form. Perhaps, as in our discussion of transformational 
change theories, the benefit is in the examination and not the arrival 
at a specific answer. Here too, an eclectic approach to understanding 


leadership provides the consultant with various ways of describing 
the leader's role to clients depending upon their specific situation. 
Perhaps by making explicit our thoughts, ideas, and expectations of 
leadership, we gain an understanding which is both appropriate and 
useful for our specific situation. 

This dissertation also describes the concept of mental models in 
Chapter Four. We learn that mental models consist of our 
assumptions, generalizations, and beliefs that we hold about the 
world around us (Senge, 1990a). Our actions and behaviors are 
determined by the way we perceive our world. Mental models have 
such a great impact upon us for two main reasons: ( 1 ) mental 
models cause us to perceive selectively; that is, we look for details 
that fit our mental models instead of viewing phenomena in an 
unbiased manner, and (2) we are often unaware of our mental 
models (Argyris, 1996). Because of being unaware, we fail to 
examine closely why we think the way we do or about our 
subsequent actions. In this way, mental models can prevent us from 
learning by protecting ourselves from disconforming data. Mental 
models impact and influence organizations through the individual 
mental models of their members. On the other hand, examination of 
mental models can make us more flexible and give us the ability to 
interact more effectively to our world. 

The goal of this chapter is to analyze what common elements 
can be discovered from examining the cases in the three areas: 
transformational change theory, leadership, and leaders' mental 
models. This chapter also helps us verify the usefulness of 
examining mental models of leaders as a tool for consultants. 


Transformational Change 

Identifying Transformational Change 

Planned transformational change, by definition, is what Van de 
Ven and Poole call "constructive" or, "teleological" change since 
transformational change is both planned and purposefully enacted 
by the organization (Van de Ven, 1988). All four cases described in 
this dissertation can be viewed as examples of transformational 
change in organizations. This can be said because, in each case, 
members perceive change has occurred and that it can be 
demonstrated that this change has taken place in the most basic 
elements of the organization. Specifically, in each case, the way work 
is accomplished has, and in all but one case, is continuing to change; 
organizational members perceive that "things" are different, usually 
referring to attitudes and norms. 

In the Corporate Headquarters case, the way work gets 
accomplished has changed. Where previous management either 
could not easily make decisions or continually rehashed them, 
decisions are now being made. Management focuses more on the 
future than dwelling on past mistakes or present problems. People 
at all levels now perceive that they are achieving important goals; 
they have a vision of what the company can become, and the 
company has returned to profitability in a significant way. 


Additionally, Jane says they are more highly motivated than 
before the new president entered the scene. The norms seem 
changed too. Management is less formal; now everyday is "casual 
Friday." People indicate that they feel more "comfortable" in going 
about their jobs; taking risks with out fear, and knowing that their 
accomplishments will be recognized. 

We determined that transformational change has taken place 
in the Utility Company case since norms, behavior, culture, and 
systems appear different in the new company as compared to the 
parent company. In describing start-up businesses Kanter et al. 
place these new efforts in their micro-evolutionary change category 
(Kanter et al., 1992). Start-ups have their own whole range of 
challenges and issues to deal with including attracting skilled 
employees, securing funding, and dealing with government 
regulations. According to Kanter et al. this causes them to change 
regardless of their strategic intent. Although many of the same 
people, such as both Ralph and Sam, who are currently in the new 
company came from the parent company, the way business gets 
accomplished has significantly altered. Particularly their perspective 
on how to attract and hold customers has radically changed. This has 
been caused partly by external forces brought about by federal 
deregulation of the industry. Unlike this industry in the past when 
monopolies were permitted, deregulation fosters competition and the 
need to attract customers. This results in a very different approach 
and requires the new company to provide quality service focused on 
customer demands. In addition, utilities have not been known for 
having the ability to be flexible and adaptable, whereas, the new 


company has demonstrated this ability by quickly modifying 
strategic plans as marketing studies determine possible niches to 
exploit. Chin's and Benne's normative-reeducative strategy helps to 
explain some of the issues facing management in the Utility case 
(Benne & Chin, 1976a). According to Chin and Benne, change 
involves two elements: improved technology and the client systems' 
climate and norms. It appears that the President, Rob focuses 
primarily on empirical-rational strategies and technology, while 
neglecting organizational member's attitudes, beliefs, and values. To 
paraphrase French, leaders must pay attention to both technology 
and people issues to change organizations (French, Bell & Zawacki, 

The Marketing Company has grown rapidly in recent years; in 
fact, it has doubled its size in the past four years. Rapid growth is 
referred to by Kanter et al., as examples of micro-evolutionary 
change (Kanter et al., 1992). Yet, the Marketing Company, to date, 
has not fallen victim to some of the most dangerous aspects Kanter et 
al. associate with rapid growth, specifically, a climate of infallibility. 
This refers to the organization's feeling that it can do no wrong. 
Perhaps avoidance of this danger is due to their President, Mary. 
Mary's leadership is discussed later under "Leadership in 
Organizational Change." 

Linda describes her company as a great example of 
transformational change because of the rapid growth and the 
resulting changes that have occurred. Mary, too, perceives many 
changes as transformational. In this case too, as the others, the way 
people do their jobs has experienced significant change. For 


example, the need to handle more data and information quickly has 
contributed to the need to utilize computers and the Internet. Linda 
mentions that many of the long time sales people have had great 
difficulty in adjusting to the new technological culture. In addition, 
changes in commission rules have reduced the sales people's share of 
the profits. They are forced to sell more to maintain their income 
level. The rapid growth has also contributed to a strain on 
communications and coordination of activities. The Marketing 
Company has rapidly grown to six offices and over two hundred and 
fifty sales people. Mary has mentioned her current realization of the 
problems inherent in this situation. 

Perhaps the Marketing case is an example of, what Kanter et al. 
see as an accumulation of many small changes over time that 
suddenly become perceived as transformational in their entirety. 

Transformational change is perceived as having taken place in 
the Manufacturing Company case. Mike and Larry repeatedly 
mention how different the climate has become since Ed came on 
board. For example, significant improvement is reported by Mike 
and Larry in regard to relations between management and labor, by 
citing much less antagonism and conflict. Communications between 
management and labor have greatly changed; where virtually no 
communication existed before, management and labor are now 
talking daily about problems and issues as members of the same 
team. There are better procedures for generating and sharing 
information and achieving production and quality. Larry stressed 
mutual respect where previously none had existed. 


The Manufacturing case can be considered an example of Chin's 
and Benne's normative-reeducative approach to organizational 
change (Benne & Chin, 1976b). Ed focused on paying attention to the 
norms and climate and worked to change it. At the same time, Ed 
realized that many of the members of the management group did not 
have the skill or knowledge to manage the operations and Ed needed 
to teach it to them in a hands-on manner. 

Mechanisms of Transformational Change 

This paper now turns to a discussion of what causes planned 
transformational change and how the process take place. Lewin, in 
his ground-breaking work on change, described the first stage of 
change as requiring an "unfreezing" of the organization. "Unfreezing" 
is necessary to begin the process of change. When organizational 
members perceive a need for change, when they become dissatisfied 
with their current situation, the unfreezing process can begin (Lewin, 
1947; Schein, 1992). The "unfreezing" stage continues with 
organizational members realizing that the future goal is worth going 
after. "Unfreezing" is completed when members feel psychologically 
safe to make the changes (Schein, 1992). Both Kanter et al., Van de 
Ven and Poole, and Chin and Benne similarly describe this 
"unfreezing" stage. Kanter refers to triggers of planned change as 
being political, environmental, and life-cycle. Van de Ven and Poole 
call these forces "motors", which include teleological and dialectic 
motors of planned change. Lichtenstein's systems theory of 
transformational change refers to a crisis involving an energy 
overload that overwhelms inhibiting mechanisms (Lichtenstein, 


1995). Romenelli's and Tushman's "Punctuated Equilibrium" theory 
also includes preventative mechanisms that must first be overridden 
for transformational change to take place. 

In the Manufacturing and Corporate Headquarters cases, the 
perceived need was one of organizational survival. When the leaders 
of these organizations took over leadership positions, they, along 
with the assistance of the then existing management, determined 
what issues and problems needed to be addressed (i.e. what changes 
needed to be made) in order immediately to bring the companies 
back to profitability. They also developed longer term plans to make 
changes for continued growth and profitability. One theory that 
seems to explain this case is, as mentioned before, Van de Yen's and 
Poole's teleological forces that are "constructive" or planned. But 
also, this case can be explained through the inhibiting forces that 
normally block change as previously described. With the situation so 
bleak and the survival of the company in the balance, existing 
inhibiting forces were no match for the forces of change. 

The Marketing case is an example of a company whose leader, 
Mary, is driven to make her company the best in her industry. She 
attempts to accomplish this by staying ahead of her competition 
through creating innovative ways of promoting herself and her 
company. Mary also needs to deal with internal issues pertaining to 
rapid growth such as coordination of policies and communication 
among offices. As mentioned at the beginning of this section, this 
case is an example of teleological forces initiating change. According 
to Kanter et al., Mary's company is experiencing macroevolutionary 
changes which are brought about by environmental forces that 


impact her industry. These forces are primarily, in the Marketing 
case, market conditions and her ability to meet customer demand 
and overwhelm her competition. 

Besides being an example of teleological change, the Utility 
case, can be viewed as a start-up venture attempting to exploit an 
opportunity. Kanter et al. might view the Utility case as an example 
of macroevolutionary change, i.e. industry deregulation. Specifically, 
the Utility case can be seen as an example of natural selection where 
an enterprise attempts to succeed by taking actions that are 
proactive and innovative in dealing with environmental pressures 
and constraints (Kanter et al., 1992). 

Maintaining Transformational Change 

The issue of maintaining planned transformational change 
receives httle attention from organizational change theories. After 
transformational change has been initiated or the company becomes 
"unfrozen," the work is far from over for organizations. Upon 
examination, it becomes clear why some of the theories described in 
this paper do not deal with the maintenance and continuation of 
transformational change. For example, in Van de Yen's and Poole's 
life-cycle theory, change is immanent, that is, it emerges in a 
prescribed or predetermined manner (Van de Ven, 1988). Likewise, 
evolutionary change is a result of a long process of natural selection 
where small changes cumulate. Companies experiencing these 
situations don't lend themselves to management and leadership 
attention to ongoing change. Instead, the changes will happen 
regardless of management efforts. Van de Ven's and Poole's 


remaining theories, dialectic and teleological, do not provide ideas on 
maintaining change either. 

Kanter et al., in their change theories stress the emergent 
dimension of change, change that is outside of organization's plans 
for change. Kanter et al. refer to three clusters of forces that create 
change: relationships between organizations and the environment, 
organic growth as in life-cycles, and politics and power struggles. 
Kanter et al. state that these forces operate outside of organizational 
goals (Kanter et al., 1992). 

Chin and Benne stress more a strategy of planned 
transformational change than a theory. As a result their work 
applies to a greater extent to the issues of maintaining change in 
organizations. For example. Chin's and Benne's empirical-rational 
strategies can be used to develop approaches to maintaining change 
in organizations. By using logic and rational appeals to employees' 
own best interests, commitment to planned transformational change 
may be obtained. This is clearly Rob's approach in the Utility case. 
For example, Rob uses logic and reasoning to gain acceptance for his 
strategic plans. He seems to expect people to accept his ideas since 
he believes they are logical and rational. 

Of particular significance is the idea that individuals in 
organizations are strongly influenced by cultural norms. Cultural 
norms are internalized and thereby have a powerful influence upon 
individual behavior (Benne & Chin, 1976a). Ed's approach in the 
Manufacturing case can be used as an example of Chin's and Benne's 
strategies for maintaining planned transformational change. 


The Corporate Headquarters case is another example of these 
normative-reeducative strategies. As will be discussed below under 
"Leadership," John created an environment where the norms 
support employees' creativity and taking action without fear of 
punishment, where the cultural norms emphasize rewarding 
achievement not punishing failure. 

None of the other theories deals with the problems and issues 
associated with maintaining planned transformational change. 
However, Beckhard's and Pritchard's work presents a well developed 
model/theory on how to implement this type of change effort 
(Beckhard & Pritchard, 1992). However, Beckhard and Pritchard 
view change primarily originating outside of the organizations. In 
implementing change, their primary emphasis is on stressing the 
importance of the leader's role in maintaining change strategy. 

Leadership in Transformational Change 

This section analyzes leadership style of the leaders in the four 
cases described in this paper from the perspective of appropriate 
leadership theories and identifies common elements of leaders' 
actions and behaviors in planned transformational change. As we 
examine leadership style, we find that a number of theories can be 
used to describe actions leaders take. This is so because many of 
these theories are not unique and often there is significant overlap of 
concepts. However, some are mutually exclusive. In addition, we 
are analyzing leaders from the perspective of interviews and other 
data that examine them in a specific situation and at a specific 
moment. In other words, this study is viewing leaders at a point in 


time and is not in any way longitudinal in scope. These interviews, 
therefore, provide an understanding of their actions in that situation 
and cannot be generalized to other situations that they may have or 
might someday encounter that are different from the one's studied. 
Therefore, this study examines how leaders really act in their 
leadership role and matches leadership theory to what leaders' say 
and do. Leadership styles are analyzed in this paper from my 
perception of which theories appear to provide the most appropriate 
description of their espoused theories of leadership and their 
leadership actions as perceived by their managers. It is not relevant 
to this study to speculate on the leaders' motivations. 

Situational or Contingency Tiieories 

Situational or Contingency theories are one category of 
leadership theories. According to this theory, leaders need to 
determine consciously what their leadership style should be given 
the needs of a specific work environment. Therefore, leaders' actions 
would be viewed in the context of the specific situation he/she faces 
and would be judged by his/her actions as being appropriate or 
inappropriate for that situation (Fiedler, 1964). In this category, the 
Path-Goal theory would look for actions that leaders takes that 
satisfy subordinates and/or helps them achieve their tasks (House, 
1971). From Jane's description of John, which include being 
supportive of subordinate needs, directive in making clear 
expectations, participative in eliciting subordinate ideas, and 
achievement oriented in setting challenging goals, his actions appear 
to be included in Path-Goal theory (Mitchell, 1974). In Ed's case, he 


is personally delivering to his managers, in the manufacturing plant, 
a quick course in management practices. Ed's actions are appropriate 
for his specific situation. It is probably unlikely that a senior 
executive would, under other conditions, provide this type of hands- 
on tutoring. Mary handles each situation that arises by using her gut 
reaction as to what her actions will be. From her own accounts, 
sometimes these actions are later regretted. Rob doesn't seem to 
consider the specific situation that he is currently encountering in 
determining what his actions should be. 

Yukl's Multiple Linkage model falls into this same category 
of Situation or Contingency theories (Yukl, 1971; Yukl, 1994). It 
focuses on the interaction of management behavior and the situation, 
to determine the leader's effectiveness. Therefore, we must 
understand the leader's situation in order to see the appropriateness 
of his/her actions. In the Corporate Headquarters case and the 
Manufacturing case John's and Ed's actions may be seen as 
appropriate or effective for the "turn around" situation that each is. 
Linda believes that Mary provides the right kind of leadership for 
her company which Linda believes requires motivation, inspiration, 
and innovative. On the other hand, both Ralph and Sam strongly 
criticize Rob's leadership actions, or more accurately, his lack of 
taking needed actions. 

Leader Behavior Theories 

Another category of leadership theories examines leaders' 
observable behaviors and not any underlying skills or traits. Unlike 
situational and contingency theories. Leader Behavior theories 


posit that there are certain universal behaviors that are appropriate 
regardless of the situation. These behaviors fall into categories of: 
decision making, influencing, exchanging information, and building 
relationships (Yukl, 1994). John's leadership style fits here as well. 
John demonstrates being decisive in taking actions, influences 
through logic and rational thinking, participatory leadership, and 
positive reinforcement of desired behaviors. John encourages a free 
flow of information and builds and maintains relationships through 
honesty and consideration for others. Ed too, fits this leadership 
style exhibiting the described leadership behaviors. Mary is decisive 
in when to take actions and what actions to take; however, instead of 
using logic and rational thinking, she depends upon manipulating 
others to gain commitment. Also, she devotes considerable time to 
developing and maintaining relationships both within and outside of 
her company. Rob makes decisions in isolation from his management 
group and does not share the thought processes that he uses to 
arrive at his decisions. He does not focus on developing relationships 
either with his management group or other personnel. 

Perhaps John, or any of the other leaders in this paper, would 
be able to lead organizations in other situations. It is unclear if these 
leaders would be able to change their leadership style to meet 
different organizational situations or if their leadership actions 
demonstrated in their current situation would be appropriate. John's 
business for years has been turning around failing companies. 
Perhaps he chooses this situation because he sees himself most 
effective in dealing with turn arounds, or perhaps, he and the other 


leaders choose their situations consciously or unconsciously because 
it provides them with other personal or financial rewards. 

Power and Influence 

Power and Influence is another category of leadership 
theories. It deals with the exercise of power over subordinates, not 
about empowering subordinates to be leaders themselves. The 
power-influence approach focuses on direct influence of leaders or 
managers in one-on-one situations and not indirectly as in affecting 
organizational culture (Yukl, 1994). According to these theories, the 
most effective leaders use power in rather subtle ways so that 
subordinates are not threatened, humiliated, or ways which 
emphasize the difference in status and position of the subordinate. 
Leaders who attempt to manipulate or dominate subordinates or are 
arrogant in their use of power often meet with resentment and 
resistance (Yukl, 1994). Influencing actions are most successful 
when the leader's requests are perceived as being legitimate, 
reasonable, obviously connected to the mission or vision of the 
organization, and that is within the skill and knowledge base of the 

"Influencing tactics" are aimed at not just gaining subordinates' 
compliance, but in gaining their whole hearted commitment (Yukl, 
Lepsinger & Lucia, 1992; Yukl & Tracey, 1992). To accomplish this, 
leaders utilize one or more of the following tactics: rational 
persuasion, inspirational appeals, consultation, ingratiating, personal 


appeals, exchange of favors, coalition tactics, legitimating tactics, 
and/or pressure (Yukl & Tracey, 1992). 

John's influencing actions can be seen as a combination of those 
listed above; however, he often uses a consulting tactic where he 
seeks participation of others in determining what actions the 
subordinate should take. John also uses inspirational appeals 
especially when dealing with the field sales people, who don't 
directly work for him, in gaining their commitment of his vision for 
them and the company. However, he doesn't use other tactics such 
as personal appeals, exchange of favors, to gain others' compliance. 
Ed's tactics are focused more on rational approaches to difficult 
problems to gain employees' compliance or commitment. Neither 
John nor Ed resort to pressure or positional power (legitimating 
tactics) to gain compliance or commitment. Mary inspires her people 
to accept her ideas and appeals (personal appeal) to them for their 
compliance. Rob uses intellectual arguments (rational persuasion) to 
influence his management group into implementing his ideas. He 
also uses what are perceived as intimidating tactics (positional 
power) to gain compliance. 

Charismatic Leadership 

Although charismatic leadership is a more recent category 
of leadership theory, a great deal has been written about it. The 
major issues in charismatic leadership include: the difficulty in 
defining just what it is, how it operates, what actions leaders can 
take that result in the charismatic phenomenon, and what conditions 
need to exist for it to appear. Much of the research on charismatic 


leadership explains the effect it has on subordinates or followers in 
organizations (House, 1977; House, Spangler & Woycke, 1991; Howell 
& Frost, 1989; Smith, 1982). These effects are described variously as 
feeling affection for the leader, feeling emotionally connected to the 
mission, and feelings of making contributions to the mission (House 
et al., 1991). Some research describes leadership behaviors that 
are associated with charisma such as leader articulated vision, 
models of desirable behaviors, and communications of high 
expectations (Podsakoff, MacKenzie, Morrman & Fetter, 1990). Other 
theories of charismatic leadership, such as Attribution Theory of 
Charisma, describe similar behaviors of charismatic leaders 
(Conger, 1989). The role model that the leader portrays seems to 
have significance, since identification with the leader is an important 
aspect of the phenomenon (Conger, 1989). Other theories don't 
pertain to leaders' actions and behaviors, but instead focus on the 
need for self-esteem of followers and their emotional reactions in 
groups to charismatic leaders. 

Two of the leaders studied for this paper have charismatic 
attributes, according to managers in their organizations. According 
to Shamir, the communication of stories and the use of symbols are 
behaviors that charismatic leaders exhibit (Shamir, 1991b; Shamir, 
House & Arthur, 1993). Mary uses these behaviors extensively. We 
have seen her use of image and symbols to create myths about her 
organization's attributes that, not until later, became reality. These 
myths become legends, shared both internally in her organization 
and externally among competitors. 


Managers, employees and field sales people perceive John as 
charismatic, but they have difficulty in explaining why they perceive 
him in this way. From discussions with managers and a review of 
company materials, I have learned of John's use of symbols to help 
people focus on programs, events, and concepts. John is a very 
effective communicator and public speaker. Using these skills, he is 
able to communicate effectively his vision to the rest of the 
organization. He models behaviors that others try to emulate. These 
include consideration and sensitivity of others' feelings, his 
confidence in ultimate success, and his communication of the 
company's mission, all of which are associated with charismatic 

There are negative aspects associated with charismatic leaders 
as the events in Jonestown and the Hale-Bopp comet /San Diego mass 
suicide demonstrate. Such charismatic leaders have followers who 
strongly identify with them. In addition, they tend to leave their 
organization powerless to function without their presence (Bass & 
Avolio, 1990a; Shamir, 1991b). Although both companies, the 
Headquarters and the Marketing cases, are dependent upon their 
leaders, John's actions attempt to build more leadership, at all levels, 
throughout his organization. Mary, on the other hand, hasn't built 
such leadership in her company, although she has set in motion some 
mechanisms to address this issue such as forming the advisory 
council and empowering individuals to achieve success. 

Transformational Leadership 


Transformational leaders are able to take actions which help 
organizational members to seek high achievement and self- 
actualization (Bass & Avolio, 1990a; Burns, 1978). In other words, 
these leaders lift their employees to higher ideals, moral values, and 
self-improvement. On the other hand, transactional leaders gain 
compliance through appeals to individuals' self-interest (rewards, 
promotions, and compensation) (Burns, 1978). Transformational 
leaders gain followership by creating an awareness of the employees' 
tasks in connection to the organization's mission, and by encouraging 
placing the good of the organization above individual's needs by 
activating high-order needs such as affiliation and self-actualization 
(Bass, 1985). According to Bass and Avolio, charisma does play a 
part in transformational leadership, but so does creating awareness 
of issues and problems, providing support and consideration for 
followers, and motivating inspirationally (Bass & Avolio, 1990a). 
However, charisma is used differently by transformational leaders 
than by purely charismatic leaders. Transformational leaders who 
seek to empower and elevate their followers, not to weaken them 
and make them dependent, are charismatic in a productive way. 

John, who denies his charisma, actually fits the role of 
transformational leader. From reports by other managers in his 
company, they see him as inspirational, helping them to perceive the 
company's mission. The mission is not just to make money for the 
company, but to provide an opportunity for all to have their own 
businesses and work as hard and earn as much money as they feel 
desirable for themselves. As noted elsewhere in this chapter on 


leadership, John works to create an environment that allows people 
to seek high achievement. 

Ed has led the transformation of the manufacturing arm of his 
company. Yet managers who work for him do not describe him in 
terms of charisma or transformational leadership. Other managers 
report that they see Ed as having a strong sense of values, working 
hard, actively listening to what the workers are saying, and making 
people think hard about their ideas. It seems that people really 
trust Ed and believe that he is an honest, decent, and caring person. 
Evidently, these qualities plus his strong expertise in manufacturing 
gain people's confidence, loyalty, and commitment. This is a subtle 
form of charisma in terms of his modeling behaviors. 

Mary, as mentioned earlier, is the one leader of the four who 
uses her charisma most consciously and extensively. Yet, she seems 
more of a transformational leader than a purely charismatic one. It 
seems that her employees are quite dependent upon her for her 
creativity, innovations, and inspiration. However, she provides an 
empowering climate for her workers where they can be high 
achievers. In addition, she seems genuinely kind, considerate, and 
looks out for their welfare. Linda perceives Mary as a very hard 
working model for her to follow. 

It is difficult to categorize Rob's leadership style. Rob is very 
hard working according to self reports and statements from his 
managers. However, he seems neither a transformational nor 
charismatic leader. He is not a participatory leader either, since he 
tends to work alone devising plans and strategies. It is unknown if 
he would be able to change his leadership style to meet the 


leadership needs of other organizations, but it seems unlikely since 
his style appears to be inappropriate for his current situation. His 
actions, as reported by two of his managers, are not satisfying their 
needs nor helping them to achieve their tasks. Rob apparently uses 
his positional power to gain their compliance. He does provide a 
strong vision of what the new company can become, but that vision 
is difficult for employees to identify with in their day-to-day work. 
Perhaps Rob is not really leading his company, and others are 
attempting informally to take over parts of what his role should be 
so the company can move forward to transform itself successfully. 

Another category of leadership theories, traits and skills, is 
based on studies of leaders' motivation for their actions. These 
studies examine leaders' traits and skills and include the work of 
McClelland, Miner, Boyatzis, and others. Since, in this section of the 
analysis we are not examining leaders' motivations, these theories 
are not discussed. 

Mental Models 

As described in the literature review on mental models, this 
concept refers to deeply held beliefs, assumptions, generalizations, 
values, rules, and other similar personal concepts (Argyris, Putnam & 
Smith, 1985a). Mental models are internal representations or 
cognitive maps of the world around us. It is our internal movie of 
how the world works. Mental models help us understand our world 
and function in it, in a way that reinforces the mental models and 
thus satisfies us positively or negatively. Our actions are a direct 
result of our mental models. Before we react to external stimuli, our 


mental models filter and modify our thinking. Only at this point do 
we take action. What leaders' mental models are, and therefore, 
what they think about the nature of organizations, the nature of 
people in organizations, the nature of organizational change, and 
their own self-perceptions, are important for accomplishing 
transformational change. However, people are not generally aware 
of their mental models and have developed defense mechanisms that 
protect their deeply held beliefs from close scrutiny. It seems from 
the research conducted on these four cases, that understanding one's 
own mental model is helpful to leaders especially in choosing 
appropriate actions to implement transformational change. 

Common and Dissimilar Elements of Four Leaders' Mental Models 

Mental models, being essentially cognitive maps, cannot 
represent the world leaders live in either accurately or completely. 
Therefore, we can say, that leaders' mental models are lacking to 
some degree. Yet, often leaders act as if there were no difference 
between their maps and their actual circumstances (Weinberg, 
1959). If leaders do not recognize this difference, they will likely be 
caught in taking actions that are inappropriate and unproductive for 
their situation. The following section identifies common elements in 
the mental models of the four leaders in this study. 

The Nature of Organizations: 

Only John has a fully developed theory about what 
organizations are and how they operate. He sees the organization in 
holistic terms and views organizations as living organisms where all 


parts must function in coordination for the organism to flourish. 
Mary views her organization as personal property. It is hers to 
control and use as a way of fulfilling her personal aspirations. Ed 
sees organizations as ways of achieving quality and productivity. He 
seeks to improve the way the organization functions to gain the 
desired results and to help individual workers to achieve stability 
and fulfillment. Therefore, he works to upgrade local management 
skills in managing people to solve problems and directly deal with 
issues. Rob has a general view of organizations based on his perusal 
of Peter Senge's "Fifth Discipline." He says that his company needs to 
become a learning organization. Of the four categories in this paper 
used to examine leaders' mental models, this one was by far the least 
discussed by the subjects in this research. 

The Nature of People in Organizations; 

John, Ed, and Mary have strong concerns for people; they 
understand what people want and need in organizations. They 
believe in employees' desire and ability to succeed. They recognize 
people's desire to achieve and their need for respect. They believe 
that people truly want to make significant contributions to their 
organizations and they want to be utilized. These leaders believe 
that people need to be rewarded and recognized for their work and 
they understand why this is important. They believe that people are 
fallible, that they will make mistakes. From their perspectives, 
mistakes are valuable learning experiences for both the individuals 
and the organization. For these reasons they focus on rewarding 
achievement and not punishing failure. 


Rob seems not to be concerned or aware of individual people's 
needs in organizations although his mental model contains some 
general abstract concepts about this subject. 

The Nature of Planned Organizational Change: 

John, Ed, and Mary believe that change requires strong 
leadership, and that people desire that leadership to be visible, 
positive, and consistent. These leaders believe that they have the 
responsibility of creating an environment where people can succeed 
even while in the process of change. These leaders also understand 
that people want to be involved in the decisions around change, the 
planning, and implementation that goes into the change effort. They 
understand the key ingredients that support transformational 
change to take place: a powerful vision, teamwork, and ongoing 
communication. They understand the importance of organizational 
culture and its positive, as well as negative impact on the change 
effort. They understand and accept their leadership role in 
organizational transformation. Mary, in particular, understands the 
role of image and perception in transformation. These leaders 
understand that change will not happen without the participation 
and commitment of everyone in the organization. They have the 
leadership skills, knowledge, and experience to gain that 

On the other hand, Rob doesn't seem to have the concept of 
what leaders actually need to do or what their role is in transforming 
an organization and in enlisting others in the effort. 



John, Ed, and Mary have considerable self-knowledge. They 
can openly discuss their strengths and weaknesses. They know what 
their thoughts and feelings are about organizational life. John and Ed 
have the ability to see their organizations' life from their employees' 
viewpoint. Mary also has this ability, but her time frame for seeing 
it is not immediate. She seems more impulsive at each point in time, 
but is then able to reflect upon and analyze her behavior. John, Ed, 
and Mary see themselves as leaders and they are comfortable with 
the position. Each of these leaders has a philosophy that integrates 
their organizational life with the rest of their life. John and Ed see 
their work as life fulfilling with the opportunity to help others to 
attain a satisfying life. Mary's philosophy includes the belief that the 
creation of image will result in it becoming reality both personally 
and professionally. 

Rob does not see himself as a leader as the term is usually 
defined. His mental model of leadership involves his collecting 
information from others, sitting alone pondering the issues, coming 
to a conclusion and issuing directives. He is not comfortable in the 
position of leadership. He has some awareness of problems he has 
relating with people, but isn't consciously aware of the extent of the 


Mental models have clearly had an impact on the 
transformational change efforts of the companies described in these 
four cases. Mental models have both positive and negative results. 
Argyris makes a distinction between espoused theory and theory-in- 


use (Argyris et al., 1985a). This research has focused largely on the 
espoused theories of leaders, that is, their expression of their 
thoughts and experience. Insight into their theory-in-use has been 
gained from leaders' actions as reported primarily by interviews 
with the leaders' middle level managers which have informed the 
descriptions of the leaders' mental models in terms of their 

Consultants Uses for Theories of Action 

Mental models, as mentioned above, consist of our deeply held 
beliefs, but they also consist of processes we use to decide upon 
actions in order to gain what we want. These ways of deciding upon 
our actions are called theories of action and are discussed in this 
dissertation's literature reviews of organizational change theory and 
mental models (Argyris et al., 1985a). Theories of action are divided 
into espoused theories which are what we claim to believe and 
theories-in-use which are what we really believe and also can be 
inferred from our actions. In other words, we can infer an 
individual's theories-in-use and the mental models on which these 
theories are based. 

By comparing individuals' actions with what they say they 
believe, we can gain insight into their mental model. For example, in 
the Corporate Headquarters case, John believes that people need to 
take risks in order to be high achievers. His actions are to reward 
achievement and not punish mistakes. However, in the Utility case. 

* 353 

Rob says that communication is very important in his start up 
company, but, he communicates very httle. In the first case, John's 
theory-in-use and espoused theory are the same and his actions 
demonstrate this. In the second case, there is a large discrepancy 
between Rob's two theories and his actions demonstrate this lack of 

The discrepancy between what we say we believe and what we 
truly believe has great importance for leaders of organizations in 
planned transformational change. Becoming aware of the 
discrepancies between what we say we believe and what we do can 
help leaders examine their mental models and challenge their 
assumptions and beliefs about their organization, the people who 
work there, the changes that are ongoing, and about themselves. 

Implications for Consultants 

Leaders, as all people, react, not to an objective world, but to a 
world of their own creation, built by perceptions, assumptions, 
generalizations, and theories about what this world is like. This 
constructed world of their own making is their mental model and 
they need to examine and reflect on the results if it is inappropriate 
or incongruent with their actions. By understanding the existence of 
their mental model and challenging the basis upon which it is 
constructed, and how their actions relate to it, they both free 
themselves and enable themselves to make better choices and take 
more appropriate actions. 

Therefore, I believe that consultants have two roles when 
working with organizational leaders who are their clients. The first 

• 354 

deals with education of the leaders on fundamental concepts of 
transformational change so that they can identify problem and 
success areas in their organizations and know the range of possible 
actions to take. However, implications from the research in this 
study indicate an important part of consulting work is also to help 
leaders of organizations become aware of their mental models, both 
in theory and in use. Therefore, the second role of consultants is to 
assist leaders in recognizing the discrepancies between what they 
say and what they do so that leaders can be congruent, that is, in a 
sense, be an integrated whole by examining their mental models in 
terms of their functionality. Leaders need to become aware of what 
they are experiencing at the moment they are experiencing it and 
becoming able to communicate this awareness to others (Rogers, 
1969). Helping leaders become aware of their lack of congruence 
assists them in challenging their own mental models. 

There is a distinction between mental models and "mental 
makeup." Mental makeup refers to the psychological and emotional 
underpinnings that are the basis of each of our personahties. Mental 
makeup is examined when we try to determine why we think and 
act as we do. In order for consultants to assist organizational 
leaders, they need to determine the boundary between mental 
makeup and mental models. This is of great importance for me, 
since I do not see consultants' roles as pertaining to the area of 
mental makeup. Consultants can best assist clients whose needs fall 
into this realm by encouraging they seek professional psychological 
help. There are clinical psychologists who specialize in consulting to 
organizational leaders in precisely this role. 

• 355 

One implication for further research is to examine this 
boundary interface between therapy and management consulting as 
demonstrated in the congruence or lack of congruence between 
espoused theory and theory-in-use. Consultants need to be able to 
determine the difference between a lack of perception on the part of 
leaders and emotional dysfunction. For example, Rob appears to 
have a high lack of congruence between his espoused theory and 
theory-in-use. In addition, his espoused theory is lacking in some 
critical areas of interpersonal relations. He himself admits that some 
of the criticism expressed about his behavior resonates in his 
personal life history. The consultant can assist a leader like Rob by 
helping him perceive his actions vis-a-vis his words. Further, the 
consultant can also help the leader see the significance and impact of 
his mental model on the people in the organization and the whole 
change effort. 

From this view, the work of the consultant resembles, in some 
respects, the mental health care-giver using Reality Therapy 
(Glasser, 1965). Reality Therapy concepts are strikingly different 
from traditional Freudian psychiatry. Glasser posits that regardless 
of our history or condition, we are all responsible for our actions. 
When we act in ways that are inappropriate, we are acting 
irresponsibly. Actually, we are satisfying our needs by taking 
inappropriate actions. The role of the therapist in Reality Therapy is 
to confront the patient with his/her actions and to challenge the 
patient on their appropriateness. "Our job is to ... confront them with 
their total behavior, and get them to judge the quality of what they 

• 356 

are doing. ... unless they judge their own behavior, they will not 
change" (Glasser, 1965 p. 56). 

Assisting the leader with confronting the reality of their 
actions is the first step in Reality Therapy treatment and is also an 
appropriate first stage for the consultant's work. Next according to 
Reality Therapy, once the patient recognizes reality, he/she must 
learn to get his/her needs met within the context of this reality. For 
example, could a leader like Rob, who has a high need for control, 
learn to satisfy that need in ways that would also satisfy 
organizational members needs for independence of action? This 
question leads to the third step in Reality Therapy where the 
therapist teaches the patient to fulfill his/her needs in ways that are 
appropriate to the situation. The consultant performs essentially the 
same service by teaching the leader to learn appropriate ways of 
acting that would also satisfy his/her needs. If Rob actually 
encouraged his people to think for themselves and delegated 
responsibility to his senior management and other employees, he 
would be acting congruently with his espoused theory and acting 
appropriately for the organization's needs. By acting "as if he didn't 
want a high degree of control, Rob would be learning responsible 
behavior and this, in turn, would begin to align his espoused theory 
and his theory-in-use (Glasser, 1965). 

However, it is important to point out that the consultant cannot 
take on the role of therapist, which in Reality Therapy, means 
developing a close, loving relationship with the patient. The 
consultant needs to beware of crossing the boundary in providing a 
more therapeutic role. Even if qualified, the consultant must 

• 357 

remember that his impUcit moral contract restricts him to addressing 
only those issues directly related to organization issues. 

A Final Thought 

It surprises me personally that, in the study of business 
organizations in general, there is a lack of perception of problems 
associated with organizational transformation from the perspective 
of leaders building a work environment that empowers people to use 
their experience, skills, intelligence, creativity, and innovativeness 
for organizational growth and development. In Chapter One, 1 
describe my perception of the present situation that exists in 
American business organizations. I am not alone; others have similar 
perceptions of organizational dysfunction (McGregor, 1960; Peters & 
Waterman, 1982; Schaef & Fassel, 1988; Senge, 1990a; Weisbord, 
1987). In a recent discussion on a public radio program of a 
currently popular book on productivity with the author Professor 
Richard Lester of MIT, the only two models of business organizations 
(of many available to choose from) that were mentioned were 
described: Taylor-like organizations where management rules 
dictatorially and jobs are narrow and robotic-like, and paternalistic- 
like organizations that wrap employees in a security blanket. These 
two models were described as ineffective according to the Professor 
Lester, since neither model can deal effectively with the rapid 
change that business now, and for the foreseeable future, faces. Yet, 
no discussion of any alternative was made. There was no mention of 
the role leaders need to play in creating an alternative model of 
business organizations, or the need to examine closely leaders' 


mental models to assure that they take appropriate actions in 
leading their organizations. In addition, the discussion lacked 
reference to the significant contributions workers can make to their 
companies if leaders create an environment where everyone is 
encouraged to fully utilizing their intelligence and creativity for the 
betterment of the organization, 1 believe that the concepts in this 
paper offer a viable alternative. 



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The Nature of Organizations: 

Management planning 

Understanding organizational systems and processes 

The Nature of People in Organizations: 

Need for achievement 

Sensitivity to feelings and emotions of others 

Understanding need for rewards and recognition 

Understanding organizational dynamics 

Understanding resistance 

Understanding what makes people tick 

Understanding and people in organizations 

The Nature of Organizational Chang e: 

Need change 

Perception of change 

Risk taking 

Understanding concept of leadership 

Understanding innovation 

Understanding leadership and management 

Understanding need for communications 

Understanding need for rewards and recognition 

Understanding need for teamwork 

Understanding organizational change 

Understanding organizational culture 

Understanding role - others 

Use perception to create success 

WiUingness to change 


Self Perception: 

Ability to see from others viewpoint 

Creating reality 

Philosophy of living 

Seeing oneself as a leader 

Self awareness 

Understanding role - own 



My Address 
City, State 
Telephone Number 
Interview Subject 

Dear , 

Thank you for agreeing to meet with me and participate in my 

Introduction and Purpose of Mv Visit 

The purpose of this letter is to introduce myself and die dissertation 
research that I am currently conducting. I am an experienced manager who 
is working towards a Ph.D. degree in the field of organizational change. My 
research involves studying managers' and leaders' responses to planned 
transformational change in organizations. My primary data collection 
process is by interviewing leaders and middle level managers in companies 
that have undergone planned transformational change. 

Transformational change is defined as changes to a company's core 
values, norms, and culture. This change can be accomplished by 
implementing procedures such as a team-based structure or participative 
management, or changing its information technology, manufacturing 
processes, or customer service goals. Other factors such as rapid growth and 
radical change in market approach can also be considered transformational 
in nature. 


Protection of Confidentially 

Protection of confidentiality and anonymity of both the company and 
those interviewed is of great importance and is achieved by coding 
responses and removing or disguising any identifying information. In no 
case, will identifiable information be released. 

Conducting the Interviews 

All interviews will be tape recorded. Transcripts of these recordings 
will be made available upon request for your review and correction as 
desired. Findings of this study will be gladly shared. The abstract of my 
dissertation will be sent to you. 

1 hope that by participating in my research, you will gain value from 
it, in return. Most subjects interviewed have found the interviewing process 
to be an opportunity to reflect on the change process in which they are a 
part. The opportunity to discuss issues and concerns confidentially and with 
someone outside of the company has helped subjects in clarifying their own 

I look forward meeting with you. 

Respectfully yours, 
Stephen C. Rathmill 

• 366 


I am conducting research for my dissertation on what makes 
organizational change succeed, in order to help me focus on what 
makes companies improve. I want to explore, with you, some of the 
majors changes that your company has recently experienced: What 
the changes were; how they were implemented; what results were 
achieved, and what was your role as leader.) 

1 have mostly open-ended questions which you can answer any way 
you see fit. These interviews take anywhere from 45 to 90 minutes. 
Longer is fine with me. 

I guarantee the confidentiality of my sources, both people and 

Feel free to ask me any questions now or at any time. I'd like this 
interview to be as conversational as possible. 

1. Cause of Change Effort 

You've taken this company through significant growth. 
-What led up to this growth? 

-What made you recognize that you could achieve these results? 
-What was the situation that led up to you embarking on this 
-How did you determine what to do? Who was involved? 

2. Implementation Plan 

-Did you have a formal implementation plan? 

-Did you use it? 

-Who was involved in planning? 

-What technical issues did you consider? 

-What human issues did you consider? 


3. Results (results of change, not quality of decisions or strategy) 
-What changed? 

-What changed in the way work gets done? 
-Did values change? goals, vision, mission, what's important? 
-Did norms change? How work gets done, rewards/punishment, 
risk taking/how failure is handled, how people relate/group 

-Did behaviors change? Participative/dictatorial, power/control? 
-Where these the changes that you had planned? 
-What did not change? 

-What changed but rolled back? Why do you think this 

4. Resistance 

-Was there any evidence of resistance to your changes? 

-What was done to reduce it? 

-What does it mean when there is resistance? 

-Is it good, bad, other? 

-Is apathy better than resistance? 

5. Roles-Leaders 

-What was your role in the change effort? 

-Would this role change in other change efforts? 

- What should your role be? 

-What was the role of mid level managers during this change? 

-What should be their role? 

-Have your views changed from this experience? 

-Do other leaders that you know well see their roles similarly? 

6. Leader as Role Model (behavior, energy, thought processes) 

-Do you think that others perceive you as a role model to be 


-Do you want them to emulate you? 


7. Roles-Mid level Managers 

-What was your role in the change effort? 

-What should your role be? 

-Have your views changed from this experience? 

-Do other managers you know well see their roles similarly? 

-What should be the role of leaders in PTC? 

-Do you think they perceive their roles as you do? 

8. Perception of organizations 

-When someone asks "what is (name of company)," how 

do you respond? 

-Is that the order of importance to you? 

-"A company is like a living organism." How do you respond to 

this statement? 



Please read each bulleted paragraph; then select four that you 
decide to assign codes. Choose one of the four codes from the list 
below and place your choice in the left hand margin next to the 
paragraph. Please feel free to assign codes to more paragraphs as 
you wish. 

1. The Nature of Organizations 

2. The Nature of People in Organizations 

3. The Nature of Organizational Change 

4. Self Perception 

• This is a tense place. We are trying to do something hard and 
we could fail. Everyone knows it and so there is a level of 
anxiety here which is way beyond where we were at the other 
company [his former company]. 

• I always try to get their participation or get them to think of 
the change and then get them to implement it. Depending 
upon the business needs and time frames, I determine 
whether or not I'm going to force the decision and make it for 
them, and then help them put together a plan. Or I may keep 
playing with it for a while to get their input, and get them to 
think about how to implement it. 

• There were maybe three buckets of stuff. One was trying to 
improve the relationships at the top of the company, another 
was to begin thinking about really big stuff and a third was 
approaching operational change in a organization for that was 
pretty dogmatic. 


In a very significant way we had left out middle management 
of the company. In part, that was true for a number of 
reasons. The quahty of those people but significantly the 
management ability of the officers of the company in some 
cases was not highly developed which is typical in a 
bureaucracy and as a result there was a time in which I felt we 
were working pretty well as a senior management team but 
that wasn't translating into results down in the organization 
and that is part of what led us into the quality work that we 
pursued on a very bottoms up basis. 

I think a big part of it was cultural, not in the sense of Jill 
being African American, but in the sense of having grown up 
in a culture that was much more directive at X, versus one 
that is more a negotiating culture, which it is in our case, and 
Jill became quite frustrated and could become quite rigid when 
confronted with someone who disagreed with her. 

The environment that's been created is one that is not 
punitive, and reinforces success rather than punishes failure. 

Focusing is very difficult in this environment because there is 
still the sort of natural tendency to try and find out what's 
wrong versus finding out what's right and they focus on 
dealing with symptoms rather than dealing with issues. 

It felt horrible when I first began to understand what it was 
that I was hearing. I thought about it, I talked to a couple of 
people internally that are good at thinking about those sort of 
things, and decided that I would, confront it head on 

I reaHzed a fundamental change was needed, but what I didn't 
do as well as I needed to, in retrospect, was to force the editing 
process. That is the underpinning of fundamental change so 
that what indeed happened was the addition of new 
initiatives versus the replacement of the old for the new. 


Customer service prior to me getting here did riot have 
service level statistics. They are a call center environment yet 
didn't know how many calls they were handling, what their 
service level was in handling calls, and what the vital 
statistics were for operating that area. They had a system but 
the system was so old and was so wrong, that for years it ran 
while they knew it was garbage and the numbers they were 
getting were garbage. 

I had someone who recently underwent cancer treatments. 
She's a trooper. She was undergoing radiation and still 
working half a day for the six weeks that she was having 
treatments. And she was very concerned about the impact of 
her disease on her future in the company. She talked with 
me about what her career goals were and what she wanted to 
do and how she felt this was really going to throw a wrench in 
everything. The kind of things that I shared with her were, of 
course, you know that's not you primary concern right now, 
what you need to be concerned with is getting well and, as far 
as your career, we can absolutely work on a plan to keep you 
on track for where you want to be, what you want to be 
involved in, even if you are out of commission, so to speak, 
for the next six weeks, that's, six weeks out of how many years 
have you been here and how many years you will be here. 
That's not significant. 

I compliment them for coming to me about things like that. 
Tm glad you feel so comfortable to come and talk to me about 


I would reemphasize the statement, it has been my experience 
that there is no such thing as changing an institution or an 
organization in which the leaders do not commit to personal 
changes as well, and to confronting themselves, allowing 
themselves to be confronted with the need for amending the 


way they look at things, to rethinking their behaviors and to 
focus on their activities. 

Well we had the looming question of where the industry as a 
whole was going and what might happen to a little 
distribution company. We had what I regarded as a seriously 
dysfunctional senior management, and we had a number of a 
corporation issues, change issue that needed attention, quite 
apart from where we might go strategically. 

And I don't care who the individual is or how capable they 
are, in a organization such as this, one has to be able to 
delegate effectively, that is to be able to rely on individuals to 
make good solid creative decisions on an ongoing basis in 
order for the organization to function. This is one of the 
issues that we are dealing with right now Steve, that it 
becomes increasingly dependent on the leader. You very 
quickly reach the limit of what that one individual, again 
regardless of how competent they may be, can do, and that is 
as true in a function head as it is in a CEO. 

The way business was being handled had sort of entrenched 
itself in terms of issues that were just not being dealt with on 
a timely basis and decisions not being made. All this is sort of 
a malaise that effects an organization that has lost its 
confidence in itself. 

Well, there is a fair amount of firefighting, but there is also a 
lot of finger pointing which is probably the most destructive 
aspect of this. It's sort of like one's heart attacking ones liver, 
saying the liver isn't doing it's job that's why everything is 
fucked up, and I've come to the conclusion after all these 
years in management that when times are less than good 
there's an almost natural inclination for that to happen and it 
requires an enormous of management and leadership just to 
keep the organism from almost self destructing. 


I've always worked hard but I've never worked on a sustained 
basis this hard with anyone, the possible exception I think, 
was my first year of law school. 

In doing that, it felt good, it felt like the right thing to do, and 
that I was doing the right thing for me developmentally and 
in doing that and being vulnerable, the way it makes you, 
uhm set an example that people really saw. It sets up 
expectations. I need to be careful at measuring up to that. 

I have my faults, but one of them is not that I have difficulty 
dealing with reality. 

D 113=1 DESbTl? S 


For Reference 

Not to be taken from this room 



Lesley Coiiege 

30 MeV.en Street 

Cambridge. MA 02138-2790