Imagery of Regent people and campus

Dissertation Abstract

Leadership Power and Take-Charge Behaviors in a Workforce Turnaround Performance Improvement Initiative: A Mixed Methods Study

Robert L. Nida
May 2009

Performance improvement through leadership development and the creation of a high-performance work team culture in a turnaround organization is difficult and complex. Strategic planning requires understanding of the behavioral dynamics of the workforce starting with the top and lower level leadership teams. The capitalistic nature of the global economic enterprise is influenced by the theory of creative destruction, organizational entropy, and leadership's ability to engage the entire workforce in the process of growth. Turnaround leadership is examined on a lessons-learned basis to determine if the leadership team is able to lead the workforce through the adaptive actions required to counter the shifts in economic equilibrium. Researcher immersion takes place as an embedded part of the organizational structure to gather and interpret data that help to better understand turnaround environments. Meaning to the actors (i.e., descriptive understanding of their views) and building value creation theory through inductive reasoning is developed. Qualitative field data are analyzed to provide insights into the workforce reaction to leadership turnaround initiatives, behavior reorientation, and subsequent job-related performance results. Quantitative data are used to examine the use of leadership power, organizational culture, and identification of individual take-charge behaviors existing at the start of the turnaround launch. Organizational entropy theory leading to the deficit performance culture and the positive exodus from it towards a sustainable growth rate for the organization is examined. Leadership accountability and developmental initiatives become catalysts in the effort to halt the deterioration of performance as creative destruction dynamics continues to alter the existing economic landscape of the actors. The leadership challenge is to create an expanded workforce engagement process to meet the challenge of slowing, reversing, and growing sustainable stakeholder value of the targeted organization. Leadership use of power, modification of the organizational culture existing at the start of the turnaround initiative, and the expansion of take-charge actors collide as the equilibrium of a status quo turnaround environment shifts to a growth-oriented, high-velocity performance improvement team culture.