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ConnectING leadership styles : leadership in 'the new way of working' at ING bank Nederland

Westerduin, Alexander Johannes (2011) ConnectING leadership styles : leadership in 'the new way of working' at ING bank Nederland.

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Abstract:As part of the pilot of the New Way of Working (NWW) at ING bank Nederland, a research has been performed to the leadership of managers in the NWW. The main research question has been formulated as "In what way should managers adapt their leadership style to positively affect the outcomes of the New Way of Working?" The relevance of this research is that the findings of this research can be used as part of the input for the decision to continue to roll out the NWW throughout the organization after the pilot period of the NWW in the organization. Also the findings might be used as input for the roll out throughout the organization when the decision was made to continue with the NWW in the organization after the pilot was finished. Finally this research is adds to the academic knowledge on leadership in a flexible working environment as the NWW, and adds to the academic knowledge on the New Way of Working in general. To answer the research question a thorough literature research has been done. Also a survey was performed amongst all pilot participants and a control group, both before (pre-measurement) as after (post-measurement) the pilot period. Finally interviews with nineteen managers from the pilot group have been carried out. This lead to insights in the experiences of the managers who were part of the group of NWW pilot participants. These insights were combined with the results of the surveys to give an answer to the research question. Difficulties with leadership in the NWW that were found in this research were caused by an increase of the physical distance between employees, and between the manager and employees, after the introduction of the flexible working possibilities in the departments. As a result, managers were less able to lead their employees based on direct observation, but needed to use steering on output criteria to make agreements on what activities employees will undertake in an upcoming period. Also it was found that in the situation where the physical distance between the manager and employees increases, steering on output only works when the relation between the manager and employees is based on trust in both directions. Another finding of the research is that the manager needs to consciously organize moments to improve the social and professional cohesion in the department. The social cohesion will be reduced when the distance between employees is increased, leading to a more individualized focus of the employee instead of a focus on the team. This will ultimately reduce the engagement and the motivation of the employees. The professional cohesion of the employees, knowledge sharing does not happen spontaneously when employees do not see each other face to face on a daily basis. Therefore, managers need to consciously organize several moments per year (for instance every three months) for employees to share their professional experiences and knowledge. Several recommendations for ING follow from this research. This research has been performed on the group of pilot participants of the NWW in ING, which largely consisted of knowledge- and project based working departments. These knowledge- and project based department appear to be specifically suitable for the implementation of the NWW, as the employees of these departments are used to working very autonomously. When the NWW will be implemented in for instance back office departments or sales departments, ING should consider that these departments might encounter difficulties as they for instance have different communication needs or are bound to office branches. It is not impossible to implement the NWW for these departments, but implementation trajectory should be carefully adapted to the needs of these departments. Additionally, ING should carefully prepare and guide managers in the use of steering on output criteria. During this research it appeared that managers have difficulties to use steering on output criteria in qualitative environments in comparison to quantitative environments, and it appeared that while managers think they use steering on output successfully, in practice they don't use steering on output criteria to its full potential. More preparation and guidance in the use of steering on output might help managers to achieve more using steering on output criteria. Furthermore, ING should make (future) managers in the NWW aware of the importance of trust in the relationship between managers and employees as the NWW is implemented. The increase in the physical distance between managers and employees means that direct observation as a control method of a manager is not possible anymore after the introduction of the NWW, so the manager has to trust the employees that they perform as is agreed upon when the employees work out of sight of the manager. Yet another recommendation for ING is to make managers aware that social cohesion and knowledge sharing of teams in the NWW becomes more difficult due to the increase of the physical distance between the team members. Managers should be made aware that they play a vital role in the team cohesion by organizing moments in which team members get to know their direct colleagues, and can share their knowledge and experience with their colleagues. Finally, ING should guide managers and employees in the months after the introduction of the NWW, and not to focus on short term performance changes but instead to see the introduction of the NWW as a continuous process. ING should regard the implementation of the NWW as a continuous process instead of an overnight change. This research showed that managers and employees need to find their way in flexible working, and that teams that started in the NWW early are further in their adaptation to the NWW than the teams that started later.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:85 business administration, organizational science
Programme:Business Administration MSc (60644)
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