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Dissertation Abstract

Leaders'discretion characteristics of commitment, locus of control and cognitive complexity as affecting radical organizational change outcomes (business process reengineering)

Troy B. Chappell
Regent University

Literature reporting organizational changes over the last decade consistently show more than 70% of Business Process Reengineering (BPR) efforts failing. These failures are normally attributed to a lack of commitment or inability of the organizations' leaders. In contrast, leaders who successfully reengineer their organizations are often described as committed, confident and capable. This study addresses the effects of successful BPR leaders' personal discretion characteristics of commitment, locus of control and cognitive complexity on their organizations' BPR outcomes. The study focuses on the Army's Internal Review chiefs located worldwide and their recent successes with BPR using managerial discretion theory (MD) and the leader behavior questionnaire (LBQ). Hambrick and Finkelstein (1987) described MD by defining the leader's discretion as "the leader's awareness and capability to act on multiple courses of actions." Sashkin (1996) developed the LBQ scales of "consistent leadership," "confident leadership" and "visionary leadership" to assess the organizational leader's visionary behaviors and characteristics. ANOVA comparisons of IR chiefs' LBQ consistent leadership scores and associated ROIs resulted in support of a relationship between the leaders' level of commitment and their organization's BPR performance. The findings provide evidence that leaders' commitment, as seen in their consistent actions and behaviors, do impact reengineering results. Factor analysis of the results further indicate that other leadership attributes such as confidence, clarity and organizational skills also contribute to success with BPR, but only as components of the organizational leader's commitment.