Technology and all its continuous evolution fuel the subset of management and leadership that all roads eventually lead to: change management. Change management can be described as, “changes brought into business life by competitors, economy or any other external and internal factors that may create a major disturbance or upsets in an organization. To nullify the effect of these changes, companies make specific protective and corrective efforts.” Or stated even more simply, “the formal process where changes to the project are introduced and approved.” Changes make people uneasy with varying degrees of severity, and there is oftentimes an inherent distrust when change relates to technology in particular. The ever-popular dystopian story springs to mind. This fear of change is often reflected in the genre of science fiction in our culture where advancements seem to always go too far, disrupt our happy existence, or go awry altogether. How ironic given the positive mechanism that technology proves to be, disruptive changes notwithstanding. That is the sociological challenge of management that is imperative for skillful leadership to surmount.
Due to this natural response to change, the suggestion has been made over the last couple of decades of a needed shift from transactional to transformational leadership. But is to actually suggest that part of our job as leaders is to inspire? Studies in this area are not new, but the implications have ramped up as we quickly transitioned out of the industrial era with the conclusion that “the relationship between transformational leadership and perceived usefulness is significant.” What this seems to indicate is that successful buy-in regarding new technology revolves around the philosophical approach that emphasizes that organizations are made up of people. This necessitates a leadership style that encourages innovation, new ideas and a freedom from fear when it is time to implement. The importance of this type of leadership is underscored by the fact that “technology and innovation are the foundation of long-term, sustainable prosperity…technological innovation requires the expertise of well-trained people.” And this has always been true, no matter what type or level of technology is being implemented. But no one will ever innovate by being dragged kicking and screaming. This is a call for innovation leadership.
How do we define Change Management? http://www.blurtit.com/q730227.html
Britt, G. (2010). Investing In Innovation. Forbes.com. http://www.forbes.com/2010/03/01/science-technology-education-thought-leaders-britt.html?feed=rss_home
Filicetti, J. (2007). PMO and Project Management Dictionary. The Project Management Hut. http://www.pmhut.com/pmo-and-project-management-dictionary
Jeroen Schepers; Martin Wetzels; Ko de Ruyter. (2005). Leadership styles in technology acceptance: do followers practice what leaders preach? Managing Service Quality; 15, 6; ABI/INFORM Global p. 496.