Implementing Change Successfully

“What Does It Take to Implement Change Successfully? A Study of the Behaviors of Successful Change Leaders”  by Malcolm Higgs, University of Southampton, and Deborah Rowland, Transcend Consultancy, was published online first in the April 2011 issue of Journal of Applied Behavioral Science. In his responses to the questions below, Professor Higgs elaborated upon the experience of writing the article.

Who is the target audience for this article?

Academics interested in change leadership as well as practitioners involved with change

What inspired you to be interested in this topic?

This is a part of a long standing interest in what it is that enables organisations to change effectively

Were there findings that were surprising to you?

The negative impact of “Shaping” behaviours. Much of this set of practices aligns with what we have heard about effective leadership (e.g. acting as a role model) However, the essence of this finding seems to be that leader centric behaviour gets in the way of implementing change successfully

How do you see this study influencing future research and/or practice?

Hopefully both!!

How does this study fit into your body of work/line of research?

My overall body of research focuses on both change implementation and leadership. This study brings both together.

How did your paper changed during the review process?

During the review process I was able to provide an improved focus on the core message.

What, if anything, would you do differently if you could go back and do this study again?

This is difficult to answer. On reflection I believe that the parctice of “Shaping Behaviors” may have two components – one of which is the leader centric component (negative) and the other being providing direction. The latter may be more positive. In future research I intend to explore this distinction.

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