Analysis of the Globalization and Informational Issues resulting from developed technologies and their effect on Leadership within the Organizational Landscape. M. Toledo The present and future Leadership Landscape continue to experience significant changes as a result of the rapid and dynamic issues presented by Globalization and Information Computer Technology (ICT).
Organizations as part of the globalization era, find themselves having to constantly adapt and overcome the accelerated changes which directly impact Organizational Structure, Leadership and the Decision Making Process . Vast amounts of information generated also have the potential to cause organizations to experience what is commonly referred to as, “Data Overload”. Accessing and putting data to work in a timely manner while managing potential data overload is challenging indeed.
Although there are many other definitions to describe data overload, a common definition is, “the amount of data that exceeds the capacity of an individual or organization to process such data without error or additional performance or decision making costs, (Toffler 1971). In today’s digital environment, Information Age leaders routinely find themselves experiencing such data overloads, (Crane, N, Downes, C, Irish, P, Lachlow, McCully, M, McDaniel, E, and Schuler, K).
Let us now examine how the digital landscape with its dynamic fast pace environment, has changed Organizational Structure, Leadership and the Decision Making Process. Organizational Structure As a result of the information age, organizations have had to re evaluate both internal and external structures and their decision making process in their unremitting efforts to quickly adapt to changes which will enable them to make more timely and responsive decisions.
Leaders within organizations are constantly developing and implementing new models, structures and processes in response to the dynamic changes around them. The Information Age and the technical and social developments create opportunities for leaders to improve the quality and speed of decisions and performance, (Morello 2006). Practices and decision making models which are remnants of the Industrial Age and still practiced today are neither suited nor feasible in today’s Information Age.
Previous organizational structures such as the Bureaucratic Model characterized by its centralization, rigid formality, obedience to rules and standardized structure or the Hierarchical Model characterized by its centralization, large spans of control, bottom up process and multiple levels of bureaucracy,(Swanson, Territo, Taylor), are reactive, slow in nature not effective in today’s dynamic, fast paced , constantly evolving global environment. As a result of globalization and the evolving information environment, the decision environment is also changing.
The decision environment is now the collection of information, goals, values and preferences which are available at the time of the decision (Harris 1998). Today’s dynamic environment requires decentralization, flatter and horizontally more autonomous structures which proactively address the pace in which information is accessed and shared in identifying problems, solving those problems and implementing swift solutions. Flattening organizations and decentralizing control enhances the involvement and timeliness of the decision making process by removing unnecessary communication barriers thus ensuring real time responses.
It also results in increased innovation and employee empowerment by actively engaging employees in the problem solving and decision making processes of the organization. This empowerment is the result of the transfer of knowledge within the Information Society from those Traditionalist and Baby Boomers to the newer Generations, (X’s and Y’s). Leadership Leaders in today’s Information Society must possess a thorough knowledge of those differences in priorities and motivational factors which exist between generations so as to effectively utilize those priorities and factors to achieve organizational goals and objectives.
An example of this would be a Traditionalist leader, (born between 1922-1943), whose Core values and Leadership Style would include individualism, sacrifice, hard work, honor, Command & Control and formal structures having to supervise or lead a Generation X’r ,(born between 1980-2000),whose Core values and Interactive style is characterized by Informality, Diversity, Fun, multi-tasking and a search for meaningful tasks as opposed to those that are obligatory (Zemke, R, Raines, C, and Filipczak, B). These E-generations welcome change, thrive on technology and innovation.
They welcome participative endeavors and thrive when working with other intelligent and creative people. Leaders must recognize these generational differences and implement the corresponding motivational factors to properly lead this new work force and ensure that future organizational goals and objectives are met. Leaders in today’s Information Society must posses’ strong communication skills and be supportive of their team members. They must also be coaches, facilitators, innovators, participators and motivators, open to diversity and open minded (Morris 2007).
To be effective within the Information Age, organizations must maximize human potential and utilize technology to its maximum. Organizational Leadership today requires adjusting their policies and reformulating their strategies in an ongoing effort to improve upon the decision making process Decision Making Process As previously noted, the fluidity and innovativeness within the Digital Landscape is dictating how Organizational Leaders respond and the decision making process is no exception. Digital Leadership innovation is not static but changes through time (Rogers).
Today’s landscape, where technical and social developments create opportunities to improve the decision making process (Morello 2006) has no place for the slow, centralized, authoritative decision making process. Today’s environment and its accompanying decision making process are constantly evolving which require multi connectivity across flatter organizations thus maximizes the use of information, networking and collaboration within. One emerging trend among leadership and decision making is that of Shared or Participative Leadership.
This approach distributed power and decision making amongst all individuals within an organization rather than just those hierarchical figures. Shared leadership, within the law enforcement community, first began in 2006 with a case study involving the Broken Arrow Police Department in Oklahoma (Wuestewald 2006). Within shared leadership; democratic managerial practices are stressed over the more traditional hierarchies. In this case study, three levels of shared leadership: Suggestive Involvement, Job Involvement and High Involvement.
Suggestive Involvement provides an opportunity for employees, within an open environment, to offer information and suggestions freely. Although they lack any authority to make decisions, this type of involvement relies on communication and fosters employee input. Feedback here becomes a priority and must be institutionalized. Job involvement bestows empowerment and requires direct authority on the part of the employees where autonomy and problem solving are at the forefront.
The case study revealed that motivation, innovation and communication improved dramatically when such empowerment and employee ownership took place. High Involvement is the most risky of the three in that it requires both suggestive and job involvement while bestowing some managerial functions. This type of involvement requires power and information sharing has the potential to yield the most benefits in areas such as employee commitment, positive organizational behavior, increased productivity and better labor-management relations (Galbraith).
Adaptation within the decision making process in a complex dynamic environment is a necessary and presents organizations and their leaders with ongoing challenges. As the Broken Arrow Case study showed, shared leadership can be implemented successfully within an organization. Conclusion In today’s global and digital environments, organizations have to adapt their structures so as to become decentralized, flatter and more autonomous thus enhancing employee input, organizational participation and ensuring organizational results.
Leaders within this new structure are not only required be technologically adept in today’s information environment but must also possess an awareness of the social transformations that are taking place within organizations, specifically as they pertain to generational management. Leaders today must be coaches, mentors, facilitators, innovators and problem solvers within the fluidity of the modern workplace so as to continually maximize human potential within organizations.
These leaders must be willing to share power and decision making across organizational boundaries by participating in more open organizations which encourage employee participation, networking and collaboration within the overall Decision making process (Morris 2007). References Morello, D. ,McGee,K. , & Gammage, B. (2007)Symposium Emerging Trends: Four Core Messages Define the Leading Edge of IT change Gartner,Inc. , Stamford,CT. Research ID Number GOO148843 Crane, N. , Downes, C. , Irish, P. , Lachow, I. McCully, M. , McDaniel, E. , Schulin, K. ,”Leadership Imperatives of the Information Age” Electronic Journal of Knowledge Management Volume7 Issue 2, (pp219-226) Harris, R. (1998) “Introduction to decision Making”, (online), Virtual Salt, www. virtualsalt. com Zemke, Ron, Claire Raines, and Bob Filipcazk, Generations at Work, New York: Performance Research Associates, Inc. , 2000. Morris, Jonathan, “Intergenerational Management’. University of Kansas, Public Management Center, 2007 Rogers, P. Blenko, M, The decision driven organization: Making good decisions and making the happen. 2005 G. Ledford, ‘Employee Involvement: Lessons and Predictions, “Organizing for the future: The New Logic for Managing Complex Organizations, ed, J. Galbraith et al. (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1993) T. Wuestewald and B. Steinheider, “Shared Leadership: Can Empowerment work in Police Organizations? ”The Police Chief 73, January 2006:48-55 Swanson, C, Territo, L, Taylor, R, “Police Administration: Structure, Processes and Behavior (7th Edition).