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Leading Innovation and Change

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Driven by experience and knowledge, the world of today takes a faster and faster pace in its multidimensional development. Organizations and personnel have to follow the general requirements in order to stay on float and continue to fight this business war. Innovation and change are ones of the most important components of a successful leadership style in any organization. Whereas the world does not stand still, a complex labour organization and discipline are no longer enough to sustain a profitable commercial unit. Innovation and change are the composites of the engine of the progress. The only reason the world keeps moving is because, among 6 billion people, there is someone each day who refuses to subdue to the mass and stops to think for a moment, when an idea for change comes to the mind.

Innovation can be defined in ways depending on how to view it. Freeman (1982) defines the industrial innovation as “technical, design, manufacturing, management and commercial activities involved in the marketing of a new (or improved) product or the first commercial use of a new (or improved) process or equipment”; Drucker claims that “Innovation is the specific tool of entrepreneurs, the means by which they exploit change as an opportunity for a different business or service”; The UK DTI write that this phenomenon is “the successful exploitation of  new ideas”; as for Albury (2006), he defined the term as “creation and implementation of new processes, products, services and methods of delivery which result in significant improvements in outcomes, efficiency, effectiveness or quality”; Hartley (2006) suggests that it is a “successful development, implementation and use of new or structurally improved products, processes, services or organizational forms”, whereas Jacobs and Snijders (2008) summed up that innovation is “something new being realized with (hopefully) added value”. Nonetheless, despite the numerous definitions of the innovation, each implies the basic idea of change and some sort of result in the future.

Over the last 35 years, innovation management has become the hot topic for scientific research on the sphere of management. Today, innovation and change, as well as the innovative leadership, take an important place in strategic management all over the world. Innovation and change matter for the reasons that they play an important role in the success of mainly any organization, whether it is regarding the competition on the share market for profit or the overall improvement of the services’ quality, state Tidd and Bessant (2005). They also write that “the need for innovation is imperative”, which is supported by Cooper’s words: “It’s war: Innovate or die”.Innovative ideas are vital for the survival of an organization. This work explains how various innovative theories affect the company, as well as the market in overall.

The industries are pressured by the need to develop both inside and outside, expanding in numbers, merging with other industries or organizations, forming alliances, or applying a variety of new technological advances, strategic innovations, corporate policies, culture change programs, and leadership style. Due to the multi-layered organization of the change management, it requires a high level management, extreme preparation, and precise and well though-through implementation skills in order to lead innovation and change. There exist many approaches of leadership which are all oriented to satisfy the customer according to the most accurate and latest needs and preferences. The business professionals focus daily on the search for new specific alternatives to become the world market leader in providing specific services.

This paper seeks to identify what are the ways the business professionals resort in order to sustain their position on the high level. This work defines the terms “innovation”, “change”, and “leadership” in order to portray a better understanding of the current organizational behaviour styles. With the regards that innovation and change are extremely important in today’s world, this paper reviews the theories of innovation and change through the prism of leadership. It describes and analyses the theoretical frameworks, implying which styles of change are more successful and less successful, based on personal experience. In addition, this work helps to access the leadership skills which I personally have; and what would help me to support further development.

The continuous process of development of an organization does not happen by itself. There is a range of new actions filtered by the applied theoretical knowledge and managerial strategies, each working under specific circumstances. In the field, there is a great variety of theories of innovation and change. Strategic change requires the implementation of clearly set goals using explicitly designed strategies. In order to lead the process of change, one needs to fully understand the nature and complexity of this process through the perspective of interventions, which are needed to be implemented to the structure of an organization, as well as the substantial investment of time, money, intellectual resources, and energy. Each theory emphasizes the context sensitive aspect that illuminates the change as the subject of the applied strategy, focusing on the relationship of people as agents in the organizational management change.

Organization of Change

Referring to Tushman and Nelson (1990), the organizational theories have been thinking over the ways of evolving for an organization taking into consideration the influence of the environment and the technological advancements. According to Lam (2004), there exist at least three broad viewing theories explaining the nature of organizational change. The first emphasizes “the powerful forces of organizational inertia and argue that organizations respond only slowly and incrementally to environmental changes”. This view includes the theories of organizational ecology, and institutional and evolutionary theories, which point out the way the environment affects the changing process within an organization. It sees the change as a continuous transformational process, which, by its conversion change actions in the past, triggers the consequence adaptive change actions in the future. The punctuated equilibrium model of change represents the second approach to viewing change in an organization, which differs from the continuous transformational process by having revolutionary changes in between the conversion and adaptive actions of the timeline. (Balogun, J. & Hope, V., p. 4). Lam (2004) claims that this view might be overlooked as cyclical pattern of change as it includes a few stages, which have the tendency to repeat themselves in a seamless way. According to Balogun and Hope (2010), both previously stated approaches represent mainly the same outcome; however, the continuous transformational process does it in a less dramatic way. In any way, the best case scenario for an organization is to have a few prepared solutions for the questions that might occur in the course of change for supporting an attempt to manage change on a professional level. Nonetheless, contrasting Balogun and Hope (2010), Lam (2004) suggests the third perspective of organizational change. The strategic adaptation infers that the organizations represent both passive and active subjects of the environmental exchange of forces, showing the power of influence both in the interior, as a recipient, and on the exterior as an agent. This perspective addresses the importance of the mixture of managerial experience and organizational learning linked with constant change and know-how to adapt these changes under the given circumstances, avoiding the negative factors, such as environmental turbulence and uncertainty.

Balogun and Hope (2010) introduce such cyclical concept as the change kaleidoscope. Basically, the kaleidoscope explains the need for choice making and explaining the context of a particular situation, leading to specific changes. Balogun and Hope (2010) explain that there are different designs and the choice of the options in the kaleidoscope. The authors imply: “The change kaleidoscope separates the array of choices that need to be made on any implementation approach into six categories, within which there are a range of alternatives. The change path category refers to the nature of change which is needed to be set for specific results, perceiving this stage as understanding of the changing process itself, along with the actions decided for making these changes. The change start-point summarizes the process of the organizational management, which is rated. The management implementation style, which aims at collaboration and direct bargaining, is called the change style. As for change target, it evaluates the values and attitudes towards the process marking their behaviour and the quantity of the output theory produce. The levels of the change are divided into such subsystems as “the technical, political, cultural and interpersonal”. Finally, the change of roles represents the responsibility of the leader for changes implementation.

Nevertheless, in theory, change has a positive connotation to the organization; on practice, it also implies a range of factors which might get out of control and bring to results different from that the leader has expected them to be. According to Selman (2010), there are six different ways how the changes relate to the circumstances through a range of allowing or disclaiming the organizational potential to change. These possibilities create the context around the progressive situation defining the “states of being” of the organizations on the definitive line of managerial evolving of an organization.


 

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