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By Matthew V. Brown, Ph.D. & Jack G. Nestell

leadership cultureDoes leader-culture fit matter? The answer is yes. Transformational leadership begets transformational culture. And, transformational leadership and culture change are significant contributors to ERP organizational change success.

Many people still think that enterprise resource planning (ERP) should be executed when organizational leadership makes the decision to initiate an ERP organizational change effort and that the endeavor is primarily an Information Technology and Project Management Office activity. This is simply not the case. Organizations today may not fully understand or appreciate the challenges, risks, and high-potential for failure of large-scale ERP organizational change.  If we want to solve the problem of ERP implementation challenges and failures, which we don’t believe anyone in the practitioner field or academic field can totally avoid or deny, we first need to think differently about this complex problem. And, one of the ways we can reframe the problem is to think not only the about organizational leadership and culture distinctly, but consider the relationship between the two.

Burns, Kotrba, and Denison (2013) examine the idea of a leader-culture fit and forward the notion that organizational culture, as well as a leader’s behaviors, are the two most significant critical factors of organization’s effectiveness (Berson et al., 2008; Denison, 1984; Schein, 2010). Moreover, leadership is the critical factor and has a significant influence on shaping organizational culture (Schein, 1983). So, why might we consider that leader-culture fit influences ERP organizational change?

Nestell & Associates places a high value on learning from evaluated experience (from our experience and from the work and experience of others). And, we know one thing for sure, leadership and culture can have a significant impact on organizational change success.  Burns, Kotrba, and Denison (2013) describe that transformational leaders have predicted organizational cultural characteristics such as strategic vision, celebrating success, emphasized employee support, innovation, goal setting, and organizational culture orientations and identification that exceeds beyond some of the cultural orientations of transactional leadership (Georgada & Xenikou, 2007). (Stay tuned for future post elaborating on Transformational versus Transactional Leadership (Burns, 1978). For now, take note that very different leadership styles do exist.)

ERP organizational change is a significant transformational endeavor. Burns, Kotrba, and Denison (2013) further forward a study in which transformational culture was best predicted by transformational leadership styles (Sarros et al., 2002). In other words, transformational leadership facilitates transformational culture.

The relationship between leadership and the culture has been thoroughly supported empirically by numerous studies. An example is that to better handle times of crisis and organizational challenge, there is a need for transformational leaders who can develop an adaptive organizational culture (Uhl-Bien et al., 2007).

Nestell & Associates can assess organizational culture in an effort to effectively de-risk your ERP organizational change effort. We can essentially predict if you have the right leader-culture fit needed for achieving a successful ERP organizational change effort.

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