Continuous development and improvement are the basis for the viability of any organization. Changes can occur in response to external challenges and internal problems and maintain the company’s competitiveness. The health sector is very dynamic, and its changes affect many people – employees and patients. For change to take place with the most negligible negative impact on work and bring the expected results, the efforts of a responsible leader are necessary. The paper examines the organizational change in the work of the consortium Kaiser Permanente and justifies the leadership style required to achieve success in the new initiative. Despite the complexity of implementing the changes, they support sustainable organizational success, contribute to the implementation of the mission and vision, and raise the company’s value for its stakeholders.
Need for Change
Kaiser Permanente is an American medical consortium consisting of several related groups providing medical care to the population. Like many healthcare organizations, Kaiser Permanente is concerned about the growing threat of antibiotic resistance (“Kaiser Permanente announces,” 2018). This problem arises when microbes develop the ability to fight drugs designed to destroy them. As a result, dangerous microbes become stronger and more resistant. About 2 million Americans are infected with persistent infections every year, and approximately 23 thousand of them die (“Kaiser Permanente announces,” 2018). The reason for the development of resistance is the overuse of antibiotics and various antimicrobial compounds.
Kaiser Permanente wants to do its part to combat the problem of antibiotic-resistant bacteria and speed up its solution. This initiative is being pursued within the framework of environmental commitments, which include the goal of purchasing products produced by environmentally sound methods (“Kaiser Permanente announces,” 2018). The company buys many products and works with their manufacturers to ensure that products are clean from harmful chemicals. For example, tissues containing antimicrobials and paint with “germ-fighting” antimicrobial agents have been banned (“Kaiser Permanente announces,” 2018). The process has just begun and requires further efforts to maintain change which justifies the need for change and provides a reason for analyzing the most appropriate leadership style.
Combating bacteria antibiotic resistance requires comprehensive measures and efforts, including studying the company, potential obstacles, and choosing an appropriate leadership style. The company’s organizational culture implies taking care of their employees, as they are examples for their patients in maintaining health (“Working here,” n.d.). Each employee is valuable, understands where the organization seeks, and believes in promoting health (“Working here,” n.d.). Established culture and values affect how the company achieves goals and implements change.
At the same time, leaders should envisage potential obstacles to change. In particular, Carucci (2021) identifies the three most serious problems that prevent leaders from achieving their goals for implementing changes. The list includes:
- Underestimating the work volume.
- Overestimating the campaign’s capabilities.
- Unclear leaders’ motives for promoting change.
Considering these potential problems, leaders who will make changes need to analyze the upcoming work, not to forget that employees already have many daily duties, and be honest in their motives to increase commitment.
Based on the need for change and the factors of influence described above, one can distinguish several vital features that the leader should have in this situation. In particular, honesty, the ability to inspire and care for employees, analytical skills, the vision of change goals, and similar characteristics are needed. Thus, the majority of leadership styles do not meet the requirements and can be excluded. For example, during changes, the laissez-faire leadership style is not suitable since it includes the principle of non-intervention to employees’ work (Mansaray, 2019). Bureaucratic leadership, which implies strict compliance with established rules, will also not be the best option (Mansaray, 2019). Servant leadership corresponds to the culture of Kaiser Permanente, and the strategic style involves both establishing long-term goals and supporting the team – both may be more suitable. However, when implementing changes in organizations, the best style for application is transformational leadership.
Fighting antibiotic-resistant bacteria involves changing workflows, procedures, and even the way of thinking to some extent. Transformational leaders are called upon to solve specifically such tasks. The main characteristics of the style are the desire for long-term goals, changes, and coordination with existing resources (Mansaray, 2019). Such leaders are also concerned for the values of staff, the implementation of the mission, and considering potential obstacles (Mansaray, 2019). At the same time, transformational leaders tend to set their example in achieving change, inspiring employees, and reducing resistance to changes. These qualities meet the requirements established for the introduction of changes to Kaiser Permanente.
Contribution to Sustainable Organizational Success
For sustainable development, the company needs to change and respond to various requirements in the field. Taking appropriate action to combat the threat of antibiotic resistance is a new requirement to think about patient well-being and remain competitive. Transformational leaders, considering potential obstacles and possessing appropriate skills and abilities, best embody changes. At the same time, concern for employees as the company’s primary resource is part of sustainable success. Transformational leaders provide the necessary level of engagement and motivation for people and support their needs.
Integration to Mission and Vision
The introduction of the change and the application of transformational leadership skills are consistent with the mission and vision of the organization. According to the official website, the mission is as follows: “Kaiser Permanente exists to provide high-quality, affordable health care services and to improve the health of our members and the communities we serve” (“Mission & history,” n.d., para. 1). The company’s vision is to create healthy communities contributing to their prosperity (“Mission & history,” n.d.). Combating antibiotic resistance and taking care of the environment are essential steps in the prevention of various diseases. Distinctive features of transformational leaders are the commitment to the vision and serving as the role model in its implementation (Mansaray, 2019). For this reason, leaders who use this style in the current situation fully integrate their activities with the organization’s mission.
Value for Stakeholders
Stakeholders are people who are affected by the organization’s activities, and the introduction of changes directly impacts them. Internal stakeholders are employees and management, and external are customers, communities, and suppliers (Van Vulpen, n.d.). Successful implementation of change with the application of transformational leadership will impact patients and communities, improving their health. Suppliers of products will also be affected as other products without antimicrobial chemicals will be required. Transformational leaders raise the value by considering potential challenges and providing a coherent vision of long-term goals. Such leaders can also increase the organization’s value to internal stakeholders as during change implementation, they inspire, motivate, and care for the needs of employees rather than compel them.
Any organizational change requires a comprehensive approach and sensitive leadership to be successful. At the same time, the choice of leadership style depends on various circumstances. The paper considered the Kaiser Permanente consortium, which seeks to change workflows to combat the threat of antibiotic resistance. Based on the goals of change, mission, and vision of the company, the best style for application is transformational leadership. With this style, leaders will be able to solve the problems that arise when implementing changes. In particular, they are distinguished by their commitment to long-term goals and vision and ability to inspire and support employees. Such qualities are necessary to make the goals of transformations understandable to stakeholders, overcome resistance to change, and provide for possible obstacles. Thus, transformational leaders can support sustainable success, raise the organization’s value, and integrate their activities with the mission.
Carucci, R. (2021). How leaders get in the way of organizational change. Harvard Business Review. Web.
Kaiser Permanente announces continued commitment to fighting antibiotic resistance. (2018). Permanente Medicine. Web.
Mansaray, H. E. (2019). The role of leadership style in organisational change management: A literature review. Journal of Human Resource Management, 7(1), 18-31. Web.
Mission & history. (n.d.). Kaiser Permanente Careers. Web.
Van Vulpen, E. (n.d.). What is organizational development? A complete guide. AIHR Digital. Web.
Working here. (n.d.). Kaiser Permanente Careers. Web.