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Synopsis

An organisation which has at its core value a desire to continuously increase innovative capability will be better positioned to react quickly to changed circumstances (Carnall 2007). Flexible processes will enable the organisation to react quickly to take advantage of new technologies and opportunities. A preparedness to acknowledge that failure is a part of being innovation is important (Martins & Terblanche 2003, pp. 69-73). Employees need to have enough flexibility to allow for the implementation of innovations and they must feel that their leaders value, even reward, innovation irrespective of whether they are successful.

Critique

An understanding of the type of employees required for an organisation to meet its objectives and an appropriate recruitment strategy is crucial to ensure the capacity exists for activities to be achieved that link to the organisation’s vision. Leaders must value their role in providing inspiration for other workers and continually push others to challenge processes, be creative and take risks.

When changes are required an effective communication plan is essential so employees understand the need for change. Employees from different levels of an organisation will have different perceptions of the way the organisation is coping, depending on their day to day exposure to relevant information. Leaders must be aware of the need to continually seek feedback throughout any change implementation process and to continually update and refine the communications plan accordingly (Goodman & Truss 2004, p. 225). Rewards and recognition must be tailored to suit the organisation’s strategic intent and this reinforcement will assist with embedding changes.

Reflection

It is a little ironic that providing an environment in which spontaneous creativity and innovative behaviours are encouraged, even expected, actually requires a substantial amount of planning. Organisations need to discover ways to preserve quality control over essential products and services to ensure cost effective production whilst allowing their employees creative freedom (Rainey 2006). Leaders must aspire to the ideals of learning and knowledge and possess the ability to build the necessary systems and processes to maintain control whilst continually seeking enhancement and improvements. Ultimately this will be one of the most important determinants of an organisation’s success and its long-term survival. It could be said that the business of creating ‘a formula for long-term growth, renewal and inspiration’ would be worthy organisational goals. (Rylatt 2003, p.224).

References
Carnall, C, 2007, ‘Theories of change: critical perspectives’ in Managing Organisational Change, 5th ed, Prentice Hall.

Goodman, J & Truss, C 2004, ‘The medium and the message: communicating effectively during a major change initiative’ in Journal of Change Management, Sep2004, Vol. 4 Issue 3, pp. 217-228, DOI: 10.1080/1469701042000255392
Viewed online on 24 December 2010: http://web.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.cqu.edu.au

Martins, EC & Terblanche, F 2003, ‘Building organisational culture that stimulates creativity and innovation’ in European Journal of Innovation Management, vol. 6, no. 1, pp. 64–74
Viewed 20 November 2010.

Rainey, DL 2006, ‘Inventing the future through enterprise thinking and sustainable business development’ in Sustainable Business Development, Cambridge University Press.

Rylatt, A 2003, ‘Measuring your know-how’ in Winning the knowledge game, The McGraw Hill Companies.

Lines, R 2004, ‘Influence of participation in strategic change: resistance, organizational commitment and change goal achievement’ in Journal of Change Management, vol. 4, no. 3, pp. 193–215.
DOI: 10.1080/1469701042000221696
Viewed online on 12 January 2011.

Synopsis

Organisations must position themselves to be relevant and competitive within their external environment and having the capacity to be able to react to each ‘transformation’ of that environment is an essential component of any organisation’s strategy. (Petrescu & Dinescu 2010, p. 136). But sustaining a change is often the hardest part of any change management strategy.

Critique

Change can cause workers to become anxious, but there are ways that the levels of stress can be moderated and by putting strategies in place to manage the emotional, cognitive and physiological responses of individuals to the impending change, an organisation can place itself to reap the benefits in the long-term. Many individuals will feel uneasy about the unknown however much of the current change management research supports the view that organisations that combine the use of ‘participation’ with the provision of time management and other coping mechanisms such as time management skills will have a greater chance of achieving acceptance and sustaining change (Lines 2004, p. 209).

Reflection

Irrespective of the rhetoric provided to staff about how individuals will benefit from proposed changes, people will generally be aware that their organisation’s driving force for implementing change is primarily to improve its operations and position itself to survive and thrive (Griffith, p. 203). An organisation which has a lucid vision, clearly stated objectives and logical strategies will improve the likelihood of a successful change management. An organisation which also has clear and well articulated approach in the way it empowers its workers will be even better placed to achieve and sustain successful change.

References

Griffith, J 2002 ‘Why change management fails’ in Journal of Change Management Jun 2002, vol. 2, issue 4, pp. 297-8
Henry Stewart Publications 1469-7017 (2002)
Viewed online on: 13 December 2011, EBSCO Host database (AN 6769065) http://web.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.cqu.edu.au

Lines, Rune(2004) ‘Influence of participation in strategic change: resistance, organizational commitment and change goal achievement’ in Journal of Change Management, 4: 3, pp.193-215
DOI: 10.1080/1469701042000221696 http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/1469701042000221696

Petrescu, M & Dinescu, R 2010, ‘Management of change – the art of balancing or the message behind Lewin’s model, Metalurgia International vol. XV (2010), Special Issue no. 6
Valahia University, Târgovişte, Romania
Viewed online on: 14 January 2011, EBSCO Host database (AN 51470966) http://web.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.cqu.edu.au

Leemann, T 2002, ‘Managing the chaos of change’ in The Journal of Business Strategy, vol. 23, no. 5, pp. 11–5.

Synopsis

Leemann (2002) recommends the use of a ‘work breakdown structure (WBS)’ to reduce large or complicated jobs into smaller ‘manageable components and tasks’ to provide work teams and individuals with the opportunity to share understanding of how each element fits into the larger project. Each component can then be measured to keep the project on course (p.11). Using a formal project management method can lead to ‘better internal coordination’ to accomplish required tasks and can help to reduce costs, improve productivity and enable better management of ‘financial, physical, and human resources’ (CQUni Lecture Handout, p.2).

Critique

An organisation’s leaders are responsible for creating a strategic vision and for defining the specific objectives required to ensure the organisation’s survival. Asbjörnson & Brenner (2010) describe leadership as a ‘performing art’ where leaders have to know how to ‘motivate their employees’ and to help them to aspire to completing organisational objectives (p.18). The ways in which projects have been managed in the past were largely designed to cater for traditional project-managed fields such as the building industry, but these methods may not be flexible enough for drastic innovation and change initiatives in different industries, where the progression of the planned change initiatives and even the desired end result may not be clearly known and specified in advance. Leemann (2002) asserts that using a WBS can assist by providing a set of tools which allow for individual jobs to neatly fit into overarching policy thereby allowing for effective management of the ‘the chaos of change and complexity’ (p.15).

Reflection

Project management used in an organisational change context can provide better control to what can be a confusing and uncertain condition. Organisational leaders must create a suitable environment for innovation to occur and ensure that the appropriate structures and resources are in place to manage change. In addition, they must be capable of blending the key sources of customer value with the application of relevant technologies. By employing a suitable project management framework for this purpose, the likelihood of a successful transition from the current situation to the desired state may be achieved. By approaching large-scale organisational change using a project management framework, strategic intentions can be filter down into the specific tasks that need to be done and can then be communicated to individuals within the organisation using a controlled and measurable approach.

References

Asbjörnson, Kevin D & Brenner, Michael Y 2010 ‘Leadership is a performing art’ in Leader to Leader Winter 2010, vol. 2010 iss. 55, pp. 18-23.
Viewed online on 30 December 2010: http://web.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.cqu.edu.au

Leemann, T 2002, ‘Managing the chaos of change’ in The Journal of Business Strategy, vol. 23, no. 5, pp. 11–5.
Viewed online on 31 December 2010: http://find.galegroup.com.ezproxy.cqu.edu.au
Gale Document Number: A91480869

‘Leadership and project management’ in HRMT20019 Innovation & Change 2010 Lecture Handout, Week 9/Module 9

Graetz, F, Rimmer, M, Lawrence, A Smith, A, 2002, ‘Measuring and Evaluating Change’, John Wiley & Sons Australia Ltd

Synopsis

One of the challenges organisations face when trying to be innovative and bring about change is the ability to ascertain the effectiveness of changes. Graetz, Rimmer, Lawrence and Smith refer to the ‘causality problem’ asserting that it is difficult to measure the value of a change program as it is difficult to distinguish which outcomes have occurred as a specific result of the change program. They maintain though that it is important for organisations to discover the success, or otherwise, of changes to avoid wasting resources (Graetz et al 2002, p. 279). Adams and Phelps (2006) observed that measuring innovation and change does not occur regularly in most organisations and even if it does it is generally focused on ‘output measures’ (p. 21).

Critique

Taskinen and Smeds (1999) developed a change management measurement framework for the assessment of change management (p. 1186). Their research indicates that it is possible to explain differences between successful and unsuccessful change projects, particularly where measurements can be made to ‘the speed of improvement in reality as seen from efficiency measurements of operational processes’ (p.1186). Similarly, Adams, Bessant and Phelps developed a framework of 7 categories – inputs management, knowledge management, innovation strategy, organisational culture and structure, portfolio management, project management and commercialisation – and then populated each of these categories with factors deemed to be significant in the innovation process prior to ranking them. This framework may assist in the evaluation of innovation activities (Adams and Phelps, 2006).

Reflection

Measuring change has varying degrees of success. Gratez et al assert that conventional financial analysis can provide an effective way of measuring change through monitoring of ‘share price performance, market share analysis, profit margin, cash flow figures and internal targets or budgets’ (Graetz et al 2002, p. 281). Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that are developed from the strategic plan can be used to measure the effects of change however results can be undermined by other factors not related to the actual change. The process of benchmarking – comparing activities on an internal, external and process basis – can provide an organisation with useful information but can also present unstable results because of the inherent focus on data rather than strategic importance.

Todnem’s 2005 comparison of the emergent approach, where change is viewed as continuous adaptation to changing conditions, with the contingency approach, where the structure and performance of an organisation are dependent on the situation variables that it faces, seems to provide a basis on which organisations can seek to measure change (Todnem 2005, p. 376).

Managers and consultants need a model of change that is essentially ‘a situational or contingency model, one that indicates how to vary change strategies to achieve optimum fit with the changing environment’. It seems that rather than attempting to develop a methodology or framework that will be suitable for all organisations in all situations, a more practical approach will be to consider a ‘one best way for each’ organisation (Todnem 2005, p. 377).

References

Adams, R, Bessant, J & Phelps, R, 2006, ‘Innovation management measurement: A review in International journal of Management Reviews, vol. 8, iss. 1, pp. 21-47, Blackwell Publishing Ltd
Viewed online on 1 January 2011: http://www.emeraldinsight.com

Graetz, F, Rimmer, M, Lawrence, A Smith, A, 2002, ‘Measuring and Evaluating Change’, John Wiley & Sons Australia Ltd

Taskinen, T & Smeds, R 1999, ‘Measuring change project management in manufacturing’ in International Journal of Operations & Production Management, vol. 19, no. 11 Development, pp. 1168-1187, MCB University Press, 0144-3577
Viewed online on 1 January 2011: http://www.emerald-library.com

Todnem, R, 2005 ‘Organisational change management: a critical review in Journal of Change Management, vol. 5, no. 4, pp. 369-380, December 2005
Viewed online on 1 January 2011: http://s3.amazonaws.com/academia.edu.documents/326728/RJCM_A_135908.pdf

Leemann, T 2002, ‘Managing the chaos of change’ in The Journal of Business Strategy, vol. 23, no. 5, pp. 11-5.

Synopsis

Leemann (2002) recommends the use of a ‘work breakdown structure (WBS)’ to reduce large or complicated jobs into smaller ‘manageable components and tasks’ to provide work teams and individuals with the opportunity to share understanding of how each element fits into the larger project. Each component can then be measured to keep the project on course (p.11). Using a formal project management method can lead to ‘better internal coordination’ to accomplish required tasks and can help to reduce costs, improve productivity and enable better management of ‘financial, physical, and human resources’ (CQUni Lecture Handout, p.2).

Critique

An organisation’s leaders are responsible for creating a strategic vision and for defining the specific objectives required to ensure the organisation’s survival. Asbjörnson & Brenner (2010) describe leadership as a ‘performing art’ where leaders have to know how to ‘motivate their employees’ and to help them to aspire to completing organisational objectives (p.18). The ways in which projects have been managed in the past were largely designed to cater for traditional project-managed fields such as the building industry, but these methods may not be flexible enough for drastic innovation and change initiatives in different industries, where the progression of the planned change initiatives and even the desired end result may not be clearly known and specified in advance. Leemann (2002) asserts that using a WBS can assist by providing a set of tools which allow for individual jobs to neatly fit into overarching policy thereby allowing for effective management of the ‘the chaos of change and complexity’ (p.15).

Reflection

Project management used in an organisational change context can provide better control to what can be a confusing and uncertain condition. Organisational leaders must create a suitable environment for innovation to occur and ensure that the appropriate structures and resources are in place to manage change. In addition, they must be capable of blending the key sources of customer value with the application of relevant technologies. By employing a suitable project management framework for this purpose, the likelihood of a successful transition from the current situation to the desired state may be achieved. By approaching large-scale organisational change using a project management framework, strategic intentions can be filter down into the specific tasks that need to be done and can then be communicated to individuals within the organisation using a controlled and measurable approach.

References

Asbjörnson, Kevin D & Brenner, Michael Y 2010 ‘Leadership is a performing art’ in Leader to Leader Winter 2010, vol. 2010 iss. 55, pp. 18-23.
Viewed online on 30 December 2010: http://web.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.cqu.edu.au

Leemann, T 2002, ‘Managing the chaos of change’ in The Journal of Business Strategy, vol. 23, no. 5, pp. 11-5.
Viewed online on 31 December 2010: http://find.galegroup.com.ezproxy.cqu.edu.au, Gale Document number: A91480869

‘Leadership and project management’ in HRMT20019 Innovation & Change 2010 Lecture Handout, Week 9/Module 9

Goodman, J & Truss, C 2004, ‘The medium and the message: communicating effectively during a major change initiative’ in Journal of Change Management, Sep2004, Vol. 4 Issue 3, pp. 217-228

Synopsis

When an organisation is preparing for major innovation and change, an important consideration is the plan for how the change will be implemented. After studying the way in which organisations communicated with their employees during a change process, Goodman and Truss (2004) concluded that ‘both the process and the content of the communication strategy are significant’. They identified 5 key considerations for the successful implementation of innovation and change: ‘the timing of change messages, matching communication strategies to the employee profile, the use of appropriate media, flexibility and the minimisation of uncertainty were especially significant’ (p.217). Ryan, Williams, Charles & Waterhouse’s 2008 research study supports this, revealing that in order for ‘change to become successfully embedded in the organisation’, the change strategy must include effective and two-way communication, facilitated by middle management, rather than just coming from the organisation’s leaders down through the organisation.

Critique

Change is not necessarily something that organisations specifically set out to do. It is really just a perpetual state of an organisation’s existence. The most important skill required for leaders is not to be able to manage people, but rather to possess the ability to manage the ‘interactions between people’, as defined by Karp & Helgo (2009, p. 35). Most theories espouse the need for successful leaders to engage in specific behaviours and the theories around transformational leadership imply that its success is dependent upon the leader being able to create a ‘consensus among subordinates’ about the correct path to be taken (Feinberg, 2005, p. 471). de Jong & Den Hartog even provide a list of the behaviours deemed ‘likely to enhance’ workers behaviour (2007, p. 41). Ultimately, however, it is how the change is communicated and implemented that will govern its success.

Reflection

Whilst possessing these so-called leadership competencies may be useful for successful leaders, they will not, in themselves, be enough to ensure the achievement of an organisation’s goals (McShane, Olekalns & Travaglione (2010, p. 458). While it is important to have a clear communication strategy in place it is also necessary for organisational leaders to be aware of the requirement to continue to seek out feedback throughout the entire implementation process and to continue to update and refine the communications plan accordingly (Goodman & Truss 2004, p. 225). It is also necessary to ensure that all organisational stakeholders are aware of the implications of the change as it is uncertainty that can be a barrier to the successful implementation of any organisational change.

References

de Jong, Jeroen PJ & Den Hartog, DN 2007, ‘How leaders influence employees’ innovative behaviour’ in European Journal of Innovation Management, Vol. 10, no. 1, pp. 41-64, Emerald Group Publishing Limited, 1460-1060
DOI 10.1108/14601060710720546

Feinberg, B, Ostroff, C & Burke, W 2005, ‘The role of within-group agreement in understanding transformational leadership’ in Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology, 78, pp. 471– 488, http://www.bpsjournals.co.uk,
DOI: 10.1348/096317905X26156

Goodman, J & Truss, C 2004, ‘The medium and the message: communicating effectively during a major change initiative’ in Journal of Change Management, Sep2004, Vol. 4 Issue 3, pp. 217-228, DOI: 10.1080/1469701042000255392
Viewed online on 24 December 2010: http://web.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.cqu.edu.au

Karp, T & Helgo T, 2009, ‘Leadership as identity construction: the act of leading people in organisations A perspective form the complexity sciences’ in Journal of Management Development, Vol. 28. no. 10, 2009, pp. 880-896, Emerald Group Publishing Limited, DOI 10.1108/02621710911000659

McShane, SL, Olekalns, M, & Travaglione, T 2010, ‘Organisational Behaviour on the Pacific Rim,’ 3rd edn, McGraw-Hill Australia Pty Ltd, North Ryde

Ryan, N, Williams, T, Charles, M, & Waterhouse, J 2008, ‘Top-down organizational change in an Australian Government agency’ in International Journal of Public Sector Management Vol.21, Issue 1, DOI: 10.1108/09513550810846096
Viewed online on 24 December 2010: http://web.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.cqu.edu.au

Loewe, P., Jennifer Dominiquini, J., 2006, Overcoming the Barriers to Effective Innovation, Strategy & Leadership, Vol 34 (1)

Synopsis

A clear vision of an organisation’s purpose and future will enable a leader to achieve positive outcomes only when that vision is supported by adequate resources, appropriately skilled and engaged employees and a dominant culture that reflects the organisation’s espoused values. Daft (2007) discusses two organisational models – the rational model characterised by employees working towards common goals and the political model where individuals will use whatever power they have to influence their environment to suit their own objectives which may, or may not, align with the organisation’s aspirations. Change agents need to understand how power and politics affect a change management strategy.

Critique

Successful innovation requires the four areas of ‘leadership and organization; processes and tools; people and skills; and culture and values’, to be concurrently addressed (Loewe & Dominiquini’s 2006, pp. 26-28). Considering possible barriers to change and having a management strategy is essential as is consideration as to how power is used within the organisation. The sociological theory of power asserts that ‘power is associated with knowledge’ and assumes that people are conscious of their ‘power position’, whereas the organisational theory of power suggests that in fact power is often ‘hidden, ambiguous or even unconscious’. (Loewe & Dominiquini, 2006). Understanding the dominant power base may assist to alleviate potential barriers to change. Individuals will not always agree on the correct way of accomplishing tasks or on the distribution of resources and politicking and coercion may occur as individuals attempt to garner support for their viewpoint. The systems model of resistance states that it is the effect that comes from change that can cause resistance so any change management strategy should seek to avoid creating a situation where people need to either support the change or to protect their own best interests. (Loewe & Dominiquini, 2006). The psychological model of resistance assumes people are programmed to resist that which threatens their sense of security, so creating enablers to alleviate concerns would be desirable.

Reflection

If organisational leaders use power to ‘manage and resolve conflict’ subordinates will employ similar tactics. Conversely, managers who routinely practice win-win negotiation skills and encourage will inspire similar behaviours. Providing enablers such as empowering employees through ensuring a robust mechanism for submitting ideas or the provision of special project start-up funds will mitigate the barriers to change, as will promulgating an environment that encourages creativity and innovation without fear of the consequences of failure (Daft 2007).

References
Loewe, P., Jennifer Dominiquini, J., 2006, Overcoming the Barriers to Effective Innovation, Strategy & Leadership, Vol 34 (1)
Conflict, power and politics in Daft, R 2007, Organization theory and design, 9th edn, Thomson South-Western, New York.

Carnall, C, 2007, ‘Theories of change: critical perspectives’ in Managing Organisational Change, 5th ed, Prentice Hall

Synopsis

Proponents of the systems theory of change management assert that it is necessary to ensure that an organisation’s inter-connecting processes and work units are structured towards the attainment of a common goal. Contingency theorists, however, do not support this concept of a universal method suitable for all situations, maintaining instead that organisations are largely at the mercy of unexpected events (contingencies) and should base decisions only after considering which part of the organisation is affected by current events and then managing that specific situation accordingly. Carnall (2007) noted that complexity of tasks can often be the catalyst for innovation with people designing more efficient work methods and practices and then adapting them as they seek improvements. This continuous process of ‘learning, evolution and adaptation’ is the basis of complexity theory.

Critique

Clunky, outdated procedures and hierarchal decision-making pathways which impede its ability to implement new work methods or innovative products will reduce an organisation’s ability to take advantage of opportunities. Leaders must encourage creativity, welcome innovation and support the concept of continuous learning. People need to know that their leaders are receptive to new ideas and the structure and design of the organisation must be able to accommodate any subsequent impacts, whether these impacts are initially positive or negative. This can be confronting, particularly for larger organisations which have historically adopted conservative, risk-aversive strategies but a more laissez-faire style of leadership, where people participate in the decision-making and know that leaders will support initiatives, will increase the willingness of staff to experiment with new, potentially more efficient, ways of doing old tasks.

Reflection

An organisation that wishes to prosper in an ever-shrinking and increasingly competitive market must be able to rapidly integrate emergent technologies into business practice and to have solid, yet flexible and adaptive, processes that encourage creativity to flourish and innovative initiatives to be implemented in an efficient and timely way. In order to find the most suitable approach for managing continuous organisational change Carnall (2007) examined several change management theories, ultimately concluding that this exercise raised ‘more questions than answers’ (p.92). Today’s organisations exist in a constant state of change and a structure which has at its core value a desire to continuously increase innovative capability will better position an organisation to react quickly to changed circumstances.

von Stamm, B, 2008, ‘Informal Networks’, in Managing Innovation, Design and Creativity, 2nd ed, John Wiley & Sons Ltd

Synopsis

All organisations must experience change for without it they will become stagnant, fail to keep up with their competitors and ultimately fail. Change is really just a perpetual state of an organisation’s existence. The constantly-evolving nature of organisations in a world governed by emergent technologies will continually alter the way in which organisations are structured and how they operate. Every organisation must, therefore, strive to be not only a knowledge organisation but a learning organisation, where creativity is encouraged and rewarded. This also involves having the capacity to transform ideas into results and it is the responsibility of an organisation’s leaders and managers to effectively manage this process. In addition it is essential that the required ‘enablers’ that help to stimulate creativity and innovation are incorporated into everyday procedures and activities. These include having a planned strategy in which to manage and measure creativity and innovation and a supportive and non-judgmental culture where open communication and the sharing of ideas is promoted.

Critique

Von Stamm (2008) articulates the basic difference between creativity and innovation by defining innovation as the end result of the implementation of a creative idea (p.1). This is an effective analogy to aid in comprehending these terms and essential to understanding the meaning of a knowledge organisation. It clarifies why it is not enough for an organisation to just recruit creative people who can develop grand ideas and then expect innovation to be the outcome. The initial idea is just the seed and a supported strategy and defined system for its development and growth are essential in order for innovation to bloom and for the organisation to benefit from its creative workforce.

Reflection

Effective leaders need to create an environment where successes and failures are considered equally valuable and they must motivate and inspire workers by encouraging them to challenge processes and be creative. A successful learning organisation will provide the ‘enablers’ for creativity and innovation to flourish. These include encouraging open communication; providing the required resources and not being afraid to experiment and change (von Stamm, p.10).

Prahalad, CK (2008), “The role of core competencies in the corporation” in The Strategy of Managing Innovation and Technology (eds) Millson, MR and Willemon D., Viewed 25 November 2010. http://library-resources.cqu.edu.au/cro/protected/ hrmt20019/hrmt20019_cro4637.pdf

Synopsis

For an organisation in the 21st century to position itself to be able to respond to the speed of technological advances and a globalised marketplace, it is imperative that decision-makers are cognisant of the organisation’s place in relation to that of its competitors. Structures need to be flexible enough to allow for quick decisions and to facilitate the progression towards the strategic vision. This can only be achieved if the people within an organisation are willing and able to be creative and innovative and the best way to encourage this mentality within its workforce is for the organisation’s dominant culture to be accepting of innovative ideas and for managers to be grounded enough to uniformly accept both the challenges and the failures that will almost inevitably accompany any type of innovation.

Critique

Prahalad (2008) asserts that ‘Innovation is the fundamental job of a general manager’ (p.63). This is an interesting concept as it may not necessarily be a function that is generally considered when thinking about a manager’s tasks. Nevertheless, managers need to be able to not only identify and analyse an organisation’s current circumstances with potential opportunities – ‘managing the performance gap’ – but must also enthusiastically seek opportunities for expansion, advancement and increased productivity, thereby managing what Prahalad terms the ‘opportunity gap’ (2008, pp. 60-61). The process of innovation can be planned for through the articulation of a clear strategic intent; it can be shaped through an embracing organisational culture; and it can be managed through a focused framework (Prahalad 2008).

Reflection

Being innovative does not mean taking reckless risks, but the ability of an organisation to envision opportunities requires a firm understanding of the impact of human resources strategies within the context of innovation. An organisation needs to know what type of characteristics its employees should have in order to suitably fulfil the roles required by the strategic plan. The way in which organisational leaders behave will influence the behaviour of other employees therefore it is vital that leaders possess the skills and emotional intelligence to understand and mould desired behaviours in their workforce. Being open to creativity and innovation can lead to unpredictable outcomes but organisations with the right personnel, particularly managers who can maintain a focus on their own objectives, whilst also being able to interact with others with different objectives, to end up with an outcome which to a large extent is outside of the leader’s control, are an organisation’s most important asset as it strives towards living its vision and fulfilling its strategic objectives.

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