The challenge of leading change in global organisations: a case study investigation

Higgs, M. and Rowland, D. (2007) The challenge of leading change in global organisations: a case study investigation , Reading, UK University of Reading (Henley Working Paper Series, HWP 0707).


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For a number of years organisations operating on a global basis have struggled with the dilemma of approaching a balance between global standardisation and local differentiation. Similar dilemmas arise from a review of the literature around the challenges of implementing change successfully. There is, however, agreement that leaders play a significant role in resolving these dilemmas in the process of implementing strategic change within global organisations.

This paper explores the literature on global organisations and change leadership. Based on this review the paper presents the findings from a case study which explores the implementation of a global strategy within a large energy corporation. Based on a review of nine interviews, internal communication documents and employee engagement data the paper explores the change leadership styles, change approaches and overall global-local “mindset” present in a number of changes resulting from the overall strategy.

Analysis of the findings indicates that change approaches which recognise the complexity of change combined with an involving and engaging leadership style tend to result in successful change implementation. In addition the balancing of the global/local dilemma by leaders contributes notably to change success.

The paper concludes with suggestions for further research and a brief discussion of the implications of the findings for the development of leaders capable of working effectively in a global organisation.

Item Type: Monograph (Working Paper)
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ePrint ID: 58151
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Date Deposited: 12 Aug 2008
Last Modified: 16 Apr 2017 17:37
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