Honest Leadership and its Role in Preparing an Organization for Strategic Change

By Philip R. Walsh.

Published by The Organization Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Organizations are constantly exposed to external and internal change drivers that require management to consider the most appropriate way to address the impact of those drivers on existing corporate strategy. Successful response to change involves understanding the need for change and the appraisal of the firm’s ability to change in the context of its external and internal environments. Before the change process can be planned and introduced within the organization, careful preparation is required. An important element of that preparation is the need for honest leadership by management to avoid problems related to communication, conflict and power issues that will arise as a result of the change facing that organization.

Much has been written on leadership and change, from both a transformational and a transactional perspective (Parry & Proctor-Thomson 2002). Included within the leadership literature is the topic of integrity and leadership (Palanski & Yammarino 2007, Goffee & Jones 2005), and the notion of honesty has been referred to primarily as a related virtue or value. There is very little written that focuses on the need to operationalize honesty as part of the strategic change process.

This paper presents a framework for addressing strategic change and, related to that framework, an identification and examination of honest leadership and its importance in preparing an organization for strategic change. The paper concludes with a discussion related to how, as part of the preparation stage of the strategic change management framework, an organization operationalizes honesty.

Keywords: Honesty, Leadership, Strategic Change, Conflict, Power, Communication

International Journal of Knowledge, Culture and Change Management, Volume 8, Issue 1, pp.97-104. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 820.761KB).

Dr. Philip R. Walsh

Associate Professor - Entrepreneurship & Strategy, Ted Rogers School of Management, Ryerson University, Toronto, Canada

Dr. Phil Walsh is an Associate Professor, Entrepreneurship & Strategy in the Ted Rogers School of Management, Ryerson University, Toronto, Canada. Phil has also practiced for the past 27 years as a strategic planning consultant and professional geoscientist working with many of Canada’s top energy companies and provincial energy ministries. His research over the past few years has focused on sustainable development in the energy industry both from a management and technical perspective. He has published papers in the field of strategic change management with an emphasis on scenario planning, networks and sustainable competitive advantage. Dr. Walsh holds a B.Sc. in Geological Sciences from Queen’s University, Canada, an MBA from the Ivey School of Business, Canada and a Ph.D. in Strategic Management from the University of Bradford, UK. Prior to joining Ryerson, he was the MBA Programme Director and a Lecturer in Corporate Strategy at the University of Surrey, U.K.


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