Cultural Change and Leadership in Organizations -A Practical Guide to Successful OrganizationalChange
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More About This Title Cultural Change and Leadership in Organizations -A Practical Guide to Successful OrganizationalChange


Cultural Change and Leadership in Organizations discusses ways in which organizations are able to implement successful strategic change; inspirational and conceptual material is combined with practical examples and concrete interventions for planning and implementing cultural change within organizations. Cultural Change and Leadership in Organizations is targeted toward professionals, including organizational psychologists, consultants, senior managers, and human resources professionals, as well as advanced-level business school courses.


Jaap Boonstra is Professor of Organization Dynamics at Esade Business School in Barcelona and Professor of Organizational Change and Learning at the University of Amsterdam. He is involved in strategic change processes of international companies like KLM, Bayer, Ahold and Arcadis. In addition he is a non-executive board member of several organizations including the International Choreographic Arts Centre and the Dutch Immigration Services. He is the co-author of Intervening and Changing: Looking for Meaning in Interactions (with Léon de Caluwé, Wiley, 2004) and author of Dynamics of Organizational Change and Learning (Wiley, 2007).


About the Author xiv

Preface xv

Introduction 1

Part 1 Cultural Change in Organizations 9

Introduction 11

Essence of this part 11

Structure of this part 12

1 Perspectives on Organizational Cultures 13

Developments in Thinking about Organizational Cultures 13

Culture as the Identity of the Organization 20

Culture as a Source of Conflict and Renewal 24

Culture as a Learning Process 27

Culture and Customer Value Creation 30

Culture and Business Idea 33

Notes and References 35

2 Reasons for Strategic and Cultural Change 37

Surviving Crisis Situations 37

Strengthening Legitimate Position 38

International Expansion 40

Qualifying for the Future 41

Reinventing Business Propositions 42

Appreciating and Valuing Variety 44

Breakthrough Innovation 45

Maximizing Customer Value 46

Reasons for Cultural Change: An Overview 47

Notes and References 51

3 Conclusions of Cultural Change in Organizations 52

Do not Dare to Call it Cultural Change 52

Knowing your Meaning and Business Idea 52

Playing with Urgency and Ambition 53

Innovation and Expansion as Impulses for Strategic Renewal 54

Deep Change 54

Reinventing Business Propositions 55

Balancing Between Identity and Innovation 55

Change Starts with Standstill 55

Discussing the Undiscussable and Playing with Differences 56

Trajectories for Cultural Change in Organizations 56

Part 2 Strategies for Cultural Change 57

Introduction 59

Essence of this part 59

Structure of this part 60

4 Generating energy for change 61

Using crisis as a driver of change 61

Creating a sense of urgency 64

Articulating problems 66

Expressing humiliation and shame 68

Note and Reference 69

5 Envisioning 70

Building Common Ground 70

Clarifying Ambitions 73

Articulating Mission Statements 74

Expressing Levels of Change 76

Note and Reference 78

6 Creating Commitment 79

Being There 79

Bridging Gaps and Distances 81

Building Leading Coalitions 83

Organizing Involvement 85

7 Focusing on Clients 87

Realizing Customer Value 87

Redesigning Business Processes 88

Achieving Horizontal Synergy 90

Note and Reference 92

8 Combining Upwards and Downwards Initiatives 93

Generating Creativity for Renewal 93

Using Power to Force Change 95

Changing Players and Roles 97

9 Playing with Time, Space and Rhythm 99

Playing with Time and Rhythm 99

Reflecting and Learning 101

Creating Peace and Quiet 104

Offering Guidance and Space 105

Notes and References 107

10 Conclusions on Strategies for Cultural Change 108

Basic Principles for Cultural Change 108

No Single Best Way of Changing an Organizational Culture 109

Not Every Change Approach is Effective 109

Step-by-step Change Useful for Cultural Change 113

Building a Vital Coalition 113

Change Based on Own Qualities Without Consultants 114

Notes and References 114

Part 3 Organizational Culture and Leadership 115

Introduction 117

Essence of this Part 117

Structure of this Part 118

11 Authentic Leadership 119

Creating Awareness of the Environment 119

Inquiring and Understanding Streams of Events 121

Crafting Self-Awareness and Social Awareness 123

Walking your Talking 125

Notes and References 127

12 Transformational Leadership 128

Visioning the Future 128

Articulating Core Values 131

Building Vital Coalitions 133

Involving the Outside World 135

Organizing Teamwork 137

Appreciating Contrasting Perspectives 139

Notes and References 140

13 Meaningful Leadership 141

Initiating and Sense-Making 141

Setting Limits and Guiding Change 143

Giving Direction and Space 145

Telling Meaningful Stories 148

Notes and References 150

14 Appreciative Leadership 151

Appreciating the Best There is and Might Be 151

Valuing Differences 154

Building Trust 156

Introducing Fair Process 157

Notes and References 159

15 Learning Leadership 160

Experimenting and Learning 160

Visualizing Results and Sharing Successes 162

Learning from Mistakes 164

Sharing Experiences 166

Notes and References 168

16 Conclusions of Organizational culture and leadership 169

Leaders and Initiators 169

Direction and Space 170

Effective Leadership Styles for Cultural Change 170

Transformational Leadership 171

Meaningful Leadership 172

Authentic Leadership 172

Episodic Cultural Change and Gradual

Cultural Development 172

Notes and References 176

Part 4 Interventions for Cultural Change 177

Introduction 179

Essence of this Part 179

Structure of this Part 180

17 Power Interventions 181

Articulating Urgency 181

Setting Borders 183

Changing Social Networks 185

Appointing New People 186

Rewarding Behaviour 188

Notes and References 189

18 Structural and Instrumental Interventions 190

Intervening in Structure and Technology 191

Designing New Ways of Working 193

Life Cycle Management for Sustainability 194

Supporting Young Turks 196

Providing Risk Capital 198

Changing Reward Systems 199

Developing Monitoring Systems 200

Presenting Facts and Figures 202

Formulating Rules of Conduct 203

Using Behaviour Programmes 205

Notes and References 206

19 Meaningful Interventions 208

Expressing Core Values 209

Visualizing Symbols 210

Fancying Artefacts 211

Imagining Futures 212

Storytelling and Sense-Making 213

Introducing New Language 216

Communication All Round 217

Adopting Cases for Renewal 218

Appreciating Professional Knowledge 220

Notes and References 221

20 Conflict Interventions 223

Valuing Differences 223

Discussing Barriers 225

Mirroring Contradictions and Tensions 226

Regulating Conflicts 228

Mediation by Independent Parties 229

Speaking about the Unspeakable 231

Using Humour that Stimulates Renewal 232

Notes and References 233

21 Interactive Interventions 234

Getting to Know Each Other 235

Paying Attention to Action and Emotion 236

Developing Teams 238

Bridging Cultural Differences 240

Engaging Management in Conferences 242

Initiating Future Conferences 244

Organizing Search Conferences 245

Investing in Formal Participation 248

Supporting Appreciative Inquiry 249

Introducing Appraisal and Assessment 251

Using Monitor Systems 252

Mobilizing Networks 254

Notes and References 255

22 Learning Interventions 257

Creating Learning Environments 257

Investing in Leadership Development 260

Offering Workshops 261

Developing Communities of Practice 263

Activating Learning Circles 264

Initiating Twinning 265

Distributing Learning Experiences 267

Sharing Successes 268

Notes and References 270

23 Conclusions on Interventions for Cultural Change 271

Interactive interventions for Deep Change 271

Meaningful Interventions to Guide Change 272

Structural Interventions to Reinvent Business Processes 272

Learning Interventions for Continuous Change 273

Power and Conflict Interventions to Make Space 273

Combining Interventions 274

Interventions and Change Strategies 274

Effective Intervention Mix 276

Choosing an Effective Intervention Mix 277

Part 5 Successful Cultural Change in Organizations 279

Introduction 281

Essence of this Part 281

Structure of this Part 282

24 Trajectories for Cultural Change 283

Routes for Cultural Change 283

Surviving Crisis Situations 285

Strengthening Legitimate Position 287

International Expansion 289

Qualifying for the Future 290

Reinventing Business Propositions 292

Appreciating and Valuing Variety 294

Breakthrough Innovation 295

Maximizing Customer Value 297

Inspiration to Change 299

25 Essentials of Cultural Change and Leadership in Organizations 300

Don’t Dare Call It Culture 300

Principles and Success Factors for Cultural Change in Organizations 301

Organizational Culture and Leadership 304

Organizing Interactions and Sense-Making 305

Essentials of Cultural Change and Leadership in Organizations 307

Bibliography 309

Index 316


“This book is written for leaders involved in or planning organisational change.  It is jargon-free and easy to dip in and out of.  It does not require substantial grounding in management of change theories, therefore is useful both for managers facilitating change and also for employees of companies undergoing a strategic and cultural change as a tool for providing meaning to those changes.”  (The British Psychological Society, 1 June 2013)

“There is some unique quality in the way Jaap Boonstra has succeeded in bringing together a very rich set of experiences and recreate them against a background of sound ideas and concepts.  This book offers inspiration that turns into practical cues for those wanting to manage and change the subtle threads of organizational culture”—Alfons Sauquet, Dean of ESADE Business School