Leadership in Rapidly Changing Business Environments: Learning and Adapting in Time ABSTRACT Globalization is placing new demands on today’s corporate leaders. As organisations continue to expand and operate in a more competitive environment, leaders are being asked to provide guidance and direction to teams working across time zones and distances. In addition, the competitive environment is requiring leaders to make sense of increasingly unlike sources of information and make decisions more rapidly. Different scholars present different theories and discuss the characteristics of leadership. They point out that vision, capacity to learn, adoptability, initiative and innovative approach are the qualities those a leader should have to make h/her more effective in managing the organisations to cope up with this ever changing business environment. Relation between leadership and changing business environment are also presented by the researchers on how a leader can play the vital role in long term success of the organisation. INTRODUCTION It has been a prescription to say “nothing is permanent in this world except change.” Dramatically, this proven proverb led many people to accept change than to oppose it. In this world where technology is at its height and still in progress, change has become widespread and fast. To cope with this, people especially those in the corporate world who, are mostly affected, need to have strategic plans to address such unforeseen changes in the organisation (Kanellis, 2005). Globalization is rapidly redefining today’s business environment. Significant strategic shifts are transforming the playing field. Vast opportunities for growth are emerging at the same time that the pool of high-performing talent capable of seizing those opportunities is shrinking. Those who can stay ahead of the rapid pace of change, anticipate talent needs, and take the lead in developing innovative strategies for the future will likely be tomorrow’s winners (PricewaterhouseCoopers, 2007). Successful business leaders must shape their organisations to be more nimble and flexible, less hierarchical, and more networked—in short, better organized to deliver value. The focus should be on key emerging business revolutions: agility, authenticity, talent, and sustainability. A distinctive leadership framework—one that defines success quotients—provides direction on what it will take to lead and shape organisations in the future. The fate of future business rests, in part, on how well business leaders can anticipate change, demonstrate authentic leadership, maximize the power of their talent, and embrace social responsibility (Applebaum, St-Pierre & Glaves, 1998). BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY Around the 1960s and on to today, the environment of today's organisations has changed a great deal. A variety of driving forces provoke this change. Increasing 1
Leadership in Rapidly Changing Business Environments: Learning and Adapting in Time
telecommunications has "shrunk" the world substantially. Increasing diversity of workers has brought in a wide array of differing values, perspectives and expectations among workers. Public consciousness has become much more sensitive and demanding that organisations be more socially responsible. Much of the third-world countries have joined the global marketplace, creating a wider arena for sales and services. Organisations became responsible not only to stockholders but to a wider community of "stakeholders", (Michael Ray and Alan Rinzler, Eds., 1993). As a result of the above driving forces, organisations are required to adopt a "new paradigm," or view on the world, to be more sensitive, flexible and adaptable to the demands and expectations of stakeholder demands. Many organisations have abandoned or are abandoning the traditional top-down, rigid and hierarchical structures to more "organic" and fluid forms (Daryl R. Conner, 1993). Knowing the importance and implication of organisational change...
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