Ellen Zane-Leading Change at Tufts-NEMC Company

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Organizational change is necessary for companies to succeed and grow. Change management drives the successful adoption and usage of change within the organization. This allows employees, stakeholders, and departments the opportunity to understand and commit to the shift and work effectively during the change. Virtually every organization will, at some point, experience a transition or change to remain viable and scale. Tufts-New England Medical Center (Tufts-NEMC) being one of the oldest permanent medical facilities in the county, went through major changes just to improve its stability. The internal changes were necessary and difficult all at the same time. Nonetheless, Tufts-New England Medical Center (Tufts-NEMC) is a distinguished healthcare organization known as a general medical and surgical facility rated high for performing in computer technology and education around the world. Although known as a prestigious medical facility, (Tufts-NEMC) fearless leader, Ellen Zane was tasked with overseeing organizational change and guiding the staff through it, as this task was important, and she knew what the process looked like and what to expect.

This paper will provide an in-depth analysis of the case study focusing on how the organization navigated the changes made to improve its stability, and how those changes impacted the various stakeholders, departments, and the communication practices utilized throughout the change management process.


By the time Ellen Zane became the CEO of Tufts-NEMC, the firm was in a risky situation, especially after the dissolution of a merger and the amount of money it was losing. For Zane, the uncertainty was made more complex by the fact that she did not know the extent of the challenge or even the possibility of finding a workable solution. Initially, she thought Tufts-NEMC was losing $3 million monthly, while the diagnosis by the BDC consultants revealed that the figure was close to $6 million (Ingols & Brem, 2008, p. 458). Additionally, Zane thought the firm had cash in hand for two years as opposed to the 10 months. There was uncertainty regarding how Tufts-NEMC could raise funds to continue operations beyond the 10 months. The payroll had to be fulfilled since she did not wish to lose the key personnel to the competition. The organization had also lost critical networks, all of which had to be rebuilt by an organization that was on the decline. In other words, the complexity of the uncertainty emanated from a combination of problems faced by Tufts-NEMC, including financial, human capital, and public relations.

To address the uncertainties and complexities, Zane has to utilize the systems and structures available at the Tufts-NEMC. The concept of organizational structure encompasses the systems that outline how activities are directed to achieve goals. Additionally, structure determines information flows between levels, as well as the rules, regulations, procedures, standards, and decision-making position (Alipoor et al., 2017). In this case, Zane effectively used the external consultants, who can be considered a critical system within the organization, to help paint a clearer picture of the situation. The data gathered by BDC Advisors, Inc. proved critical in clarifying the extent of the problem and highlighting the potential solutions. For example, Tufts-NEMC was found to be behind the industry standards, a situation that can be resolved by pursuing the standards. Therefore, bringing in a consultancy organization as part of the organizational structure helped Zane reduce both the uncertainties and their complexity.

Similarly, the job roles were also effectively deployed by Zane. For example, more than half of the senior management was replaced with more competent individuals who could facilitate the changes being implemented. Additionally, crucial roles were retained, including that of the chief operations officer (COO), which helped Zane and the senior management to streamline critical operations. The entire structure was remodeled to achieve efficiency and reduce most of the uncertainties. Financial problems were the key issue, and bringing in a better fundraiser improved the firm’s access to funds.

The evidence of the successful use of the systems and structure includes the outcomes of the major tasks accomplished by such roles as the consultancy, fundraiser, and COO. For instance, the diagnostic done by the BDC Advisor, Inc. revealed the extent of the problem and provider critical data that informed key decisions on how to address the problem. Similarly, the office of the COO was a crucial part of what Zane sought to achieve as she states that “I would be toast without him” (Ingols & Brem, 2008, p. 459), which referred to COO Ed Schottland. Additionally, quick solutions to the major issues were found, including contract negotiations, length of stay, network building, and working with the university. All these comprise an agenda for change, whose accomplishment is evidence of the effective use of structures and systems at Zane’s disposal.

Describe the Types of Power at Play within the Organization and Potential Effects

Power play in organizations can have massive influences on organizational outcomes. According to Eatough (2021), great must understand the various types of power and how to use them. At Tufts-NEMC, several incidences manifest how different individuals sought to use their power for the best interest of the organization. The first type of power is legitimate power that is bestowed to individuals occupying certain positions. Zane is made the CEO, which means she has power over all of the senior management. In this case, she uses this power to make critical changes to top management, a restructuring process that helped the company gain a better sense of direction. The successful use of this power meant that only effective people were retained and the rest replaced. The outcome was a management team best equipped to lead change in the pursuit of the company’s objectives.

Coercive power is one of the most commonly used sources of power across many organizations. However, leaders are advised not to use this type of power since it only works in the short term. In the long-term, it results in unhappy and disengaged workers, which also detrimentally affects retention efforts. Coercive power was attempted by one of the board members who confronted Zane for firing a certain senior manager (Ingols & Brem, 2008). The attempt was unsuccessful as Zane insisted on the change and no conceivable negative or positive outcome can be associated with it. Indeed, the failed attempt meant that Zane could use the services of better personnel in that position and help steer the company towards the desired direction. In this case, the role of power was to help the leadership shape and instill a sense of direction that the firm critically needed.

Explain How the Various Departments and Stakeholders were Affected by the Change

The agenda for change implemented by Zane meant restructuring the organization for improved efficiency. For instance, about half of the senior management was replaced, which meant that the respective departments gained new leaders. These include the senior vice president of strategy and the vice president of fundraising and development was replaced by Deborah Joelson and Deb Taft respectively. Additionally, the departments were rearranged so that they fell within eight departments: cardiac, surgery, cancer, transplant, pediatrics, OB/GYN, neurosciences, psychiatry, and general medicine (Ingols & Brem, 2008). This remodeling meant that some roles across key departments would change and that some departments had to collaborate with others where joint decisions had to be made. This way, teamwork and cooperation across the departments were facilitated and the critical problems could be addressed.

The key stakeholders comprised the senior management, employees, the board, and suppliers. The departmental changes affected the roles of some of the senior managers. Employees, including physicians, benefited from the restructuring as the firm was now able to retain their services. Some of the board members lost some of the people they had installed in the organization. Lastly, the renegotiated contracts meant that relationships with suppliers were changed for the mutual benefit of the parties involved.

Outline Potential Actions Designed to Prevent or Mitigate Identified Conflicts

One of the areas where conflicts could potentially arise is the role of the COO. For a large organization, Schottland was aware that his role would be bypassed by departments who would go around the COO to the CEO. Zane was very supportive of this role and acknowledged that it would be challenging the Schottland. Therefore, Zane made sure to assert her influence and to make everyone aware of this role (Ingols & Brem, 2008). Zane also made sure proper relations were built by having the COO talk to certain individuals or having him in the room when deliberations were needed.

Change management always has the potential of triggering conflicts among members who do not share the same vision for change. Zane realized that she needed solid people on whom she can depend for successful change implementation. Therefore, the decision to replace half of the senior management can be seen as an action designed to eliminate the possibility of conflicts between her and members of senior management that did not buy into her ideas. A potential conflict between Zane and a board member was mitigated by the fact Zane was a good communicator and was able to convince the board member that the move was out of necessity. The board finally supported Zane, which is evidence that a potential conflict was mitigated. Overall, collaboration was the most visible action that helped with mitigating the conflicts. It was also the most important action since leading change requires a team that works together.

Assess the Effects of Communications on Change Implementation

Communication is a critical requirement for successful change implementation. Multiple best practices can be used to ensure effective communication. For instance, an open environment allows for a freer flow of communication and makes members feel comfortable approaching the leader when they have a problem. At Tufts-NEMC, Zane creates this environment by empowering the management team to approach her with queries and clarifications (Ingols & Brem, 2008). For example, contract negotiations and network building were pursued by vice presidents who were given the power to make decisions and sign agreements. However, clear instructions were given to them by the CEO, which is another key best practice for effective communication. Other best practices useful for leading change include creating time for one-on-ones, regular meetings, the use of appropriate communication tools, and being open to feedback. Zane was an effective communicator, which is manifested by the fact that she succeeded in making people agree with her plans. The greatest instant is where the board member agreed to support her despite firing Zane firing his ally in the management team.


The change management at tufts-MENC can be considered a success despite all the challenges and uncertainties facing the newly appointed CEO, Ellen Zane. The complexity of the situation was not immediately clear to Zane, but the effective use of systems and structures allowed her and the organization to paint a clear picture that helped in formulating solutions. She used her legitimate power well to influence the senior management, who fully supported her plan. The change agenda she formulated involved restructuring of the departments, which meant significant role changes across the entire organization. Lastly, her communication prowess has been attributed to much of the success she had in implementing the changes.


Alipoor, H., Ahmadi, K., Pouya, S., Ahmadi, K., & Mowlaie, S. (2017). The effect of organizational structure on employees’ job performance in private hospitals of Ahvaz. Journal of Ecophysiology and Occupational Health, 17(3-4), 119-123. Web.

Eatough, E. (2021). The 5 types of power effective leaders use. BetterUp: Web.

Ingols, C., & Brem, L. (2008). Ellen Zane—Leading Change at Tufts/NEMC. In L. Swayne, W. Duncan, & P. Ginter, Strategic Management of Health Care Organizations (pp. 449-480). Jossey-Bass.

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