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Doctoral Project Abstract

Seminar: "Managing Change for Leaders in the 21st Century"

Ocheje Eche

The 21st century is an era of perpetual change- never ending change. Every organization will have to contend with the phenomenon. Change is being driven primarily by technology and globalization. The entire business environment is characterized by change. For instance, the former planning processes, centralized decision making, hierarchical organizational structure tend nowadays to limit flexibility and create impediments to leaders' ability to effectively manage change. Clearly change in the 21st century is complex and the reality of organizational life needs to be accommodated into ways of managing it. Organizations must become more flexible, more responsive and more willing to adapt in order to cope with change. A lot of things combine to make change and its management so complex. Managing these vagaries of change in the 21st century is to manage ambiguity and paradox. Leaders therefore must develop managerial competencies and techniques that will allow them cope with the waves of change, focusing on how to make change less stressful for all. Organizations must change and evolve in order to stay ahead of competition- and keep up with technological advancement. Organizations cannot remain in the past and be successful- a strategy of embracing the past will probably become increasingly ineffective over the next few decades including the 21st century. There will be changes especially in the areas of internal environment of organizations, resulting in organizations embarking in any of the identified change or forced to adopt any of the change patterns in order to remain competitive. This is a big challenge for leaders. Be that as it may, if leaders approach change with all the information gathered at this seminar, and with proper understanding of the challenges and possibilities involved, they and the organizations the lead can thrive on the very challenges and uncertainties and manage change to their advantage. Effective change management therefore is a must for all leaders in the 21st century. Leaders must be willing to take chances, experiment with new structures, new systems and new perspectives, be prepared to continuously re-examine the organization's needs and goals and to realize too, that in the process of managing change, no change process is flawless or without resistance- but must be managed anyway. How to do this successfully and competitively in the 21st century is what this seminar has done: Equipping and preparing leaders on how to manage change, because to thrive and lead successful organizations in the 21st century, leaders must do much more than merely adapting to change, they must lead change.

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