Case Study Analysis: Leading Change at SJHC and LHSC
The core feature of the case study is a transformational change during a consolidation of two hospitals. Both hospitals face challenges stemming from the complexity of the merge that involves different leadership styles, systems, policies, ingrained cultures and employees' beliefs, and it bears financial constraints. Diversity and complexity impact upon two main dimensions: (a) behavioral (motivation, retention, employee relations, cultural integration) and (b) organizational (design of new systems, management practices, processes and in general O.D. issues). Both dimensions ultimately influence the organizations' efficiency and in turn a professional delivery of health services to the community.
The two hospitals face external pressures from: (a) the shareholders to reduce costs; (b) the community to deliver high quality health services; (c) the labor market with shortage of qualified staff; also (d) political pressures demanding a restructuring; and (e) from citywide union agreements that can influence HR decisions. These external factors must be duly accounted as they impact upon behavioral and organizational dimensions and by reflection can affect the success of the consolidation.
Internal and external complexities and challenges suggest that effective leadership, especially handling human aspects of the change, would be key for a successful consolidation process. In both hospitals employees face low motivation, uncertainty on the future, differences in leadership styles, ethical approaches, and in working cultures that add complexity to the process.
The simplicity of Kurt Lewin's formula of organizational change, “unfreeze, change, and refreeze,” summarizes a far more complex system of change as he understood it. His field theory suggests that understanding a problem requires placing it within a system of as many relevant and interdependent elements as we can identify. Within this field, each individual also becomes a dynamic field with interdependent parts, including “life spaces” of family, work, church, and other groups. It is impossible to know all of the elements of a field, initially, however. Lewin famously observed, “You cannot understand a system until you try to change it,” suggesting that change efforts will uncover relevant and interdependent parts of the system that otherwise may remain dormant (Lewin, 1951).
Issues and Symptoms
Much more is expected from managers now than 10 years ago. Being an effective manager requires a deeper level of sophistication and a broader more versatile set of skills. In most industries the pace of change that organisations and their people must cope with is relentless. To be competitive, corporations have had to restructure, downsize, de-layer, and increase spans of control. Additional challenges include managing an increasing diverse work force the changing role of women in business, and the impact of technology on the nature of work pose human resources issues that simply did not exist to the same extent in the last decade.
Despite all of this change, some aspects of managing people are fundamental. Certain truths about motivation, group behaviour, and organisation are valid to day as they were 20 years ago. If anything, the increasing pressures of today's more competitive environment make these basics even more ...