Intelligent Leadership and Organizational System Change
Explain on Systems Modification in Organization Leadership?
Organizations exist as a system that is made up of several subsystems. Organizational systems are established mechanisms in the organization that are used for managing processes and operations to achieve desired results1. Subsystems exist in the system of the organization and joined are joined together to form the organization system. These subsystems in the organization function to achieve a common goal. Organization’s ability to successfully change is an important aspect to remaining competitive. Modification of systems in the organizations enables adjustments to changing environment. Modification is necessitated by the competition and globalization. Therefore organizational system change is as strive to maintain a balance between the environment and the internal mechanism to ensure the organization continues to be competitive and adaptive. Systems change includes privatizing, downsizing, outsourcing etc. The current contemporary trends necessitate organizations to continuously change to keep the trend. Intelligent leaders have ability to influence and handle emerging challenges. Intelligent leaders are able to maintain, motivate, and coordinate employees in the process of organizational change 2. These types of leaders are able to analyze the environment that the organization is operating in and make and communicate decisions that enable the organization transition to a new system. Intelligent leadership is an important asset in today’s organizations due to volatile unpredictable environments that necessitate organization modification. Intelligent leadership ensures organizational modification without damaging the organization or losing key employees or leaders. The following write up will explain how systems within an organization can be modified without damaging the organization or losing good leaders or staff
1Michael Frese, "The Word Is Out: We Need An Active Performance Concept For Modern Workplaces", Industrial and Organizational Psychology 1, no. 01 (2008): 67-69.
2Carter McNamara, "Thinking About Organizations As Systems", Managementhelp.Org, last modified 2015, accessed May 9, 2017, https://managementhelp.org/organizations/systems.htm.
The study will aim at explaining how intelligent leadership tools can be used when an organization is undergoing systems modification without damaging the organization or losing key employees in the organization.
The study will discuss the frogs and bicycles analogy and how it has been used by Alistair Mant to explain intelligent leadership in the process of system modification. The study will discuss the organization as a system and how change implicates the systems in the organization. Lastly, the study will explain how intelligent leadership can be used in the process of system modification without damaging the organization or losing key employees.
The Frogs and the Bicycles Concept
The Frog and the Bicycle concepts were put forward by Alistair Mant to explain intelligent leadership. Alistair uses the frog and the bicycle illustrations to show the two approaches that can be used by an organization to modify or change system without damaging the organization.
The image represents system thinking which different between the intelligence of the leadership that the organization has. The concept outlines the capacity for system thinking for managing organizational system changes. Alistair argues that many leaders in different organization do not bear responsibilities of the system change because they don’t understand the complexity of the systems in their organization 3. The absence of intelligent leadership makes leaders stupid due to their inability to manage change without maintaining damaging the organization. The Alistair approaches are as follows;
The bike system of thinking in leader refers to situation that breaks or damages the whole organization and there reconstruct it again. He illustrated this scenario using a bicycle that one can break into pieces that can be reassembled and function the same as it was functioning before breakdown.
3 Alistair Mant, Intelligent Leadership - 2Nd, 1st ed. (St Leonards, NSW: Allen & Unwin, 1999).
This illustration shows how some organizations can easily break down their system when implementing or modifying systems and still function normally4. This is applicable to organizations whose systems are easy to reconstruct.
Second approach is frogs system of thinking in leadership. In this approach a frog is used to illustrate how removing one part affect the capacity of the other parts of the system. He uses a frog to show how if one part of the frog is removed the other parts are affected and in some cases not able to function completely. If one part of a frog is removed or damaged, the other parts are unable to function. In order remove a part in a frog, it requires it to be done in phases. This is possible due to the adaptive features of frog. They are able to change slowly by adapting to changes slowly through adaptation. These new adaption are survival tactics to the frog system.
This method of removing frog parts in phases can be used until the all part is removed and the frog survives normally. This is applied to organizations systems that are complex and once one part is removed or changed, other parts are affected. This implies that changing or modifying an organization system should be fixed in bits to sustained period of time. This ensures that the organization does not break or get damage to extent of irrecoverable.
Alistair concluded that effective leaders should have knowledge about complex systems in order to be decisive by use system thinking capacity.
Organizational system comprises of subsystems that include operation, production, and managerial. The organization system approach views the organization as a system that enables transformation of input to output. This system functionality is dependent on the functionality of each subsystem for the organization to produce it products and deliver to customers. The operation subsystem involves activities that an organization undertakes to produce and deliver its output to the customers. The production subsystem involves production process that the organization undertakes to transform inputs to outputs. Changes or modification in these subsystems is static and easy to change.
4Silas Michael, "A Framework For Organizational Knowledge Systems", International Journal of Business and Administrative Studies 2, no. 6 (2016).
The human subsystem is the most important subsystem in the organization and determines effectiveness and efficiency in production and operation subsystems5. The managerial subsystem is affected by modification or changes in other subsystems and has ability to influence other subsystems. The managerial system contains the following; organizational culture, values, beliefs and attitudes and personality. These subsystems in the organization determine faithfulness, trust, and commitment. When one subsystem changes or is damaged, the other parts are affect. One subsystem changes influences the other functionality of the other subsystems. The organizational system functionality is determined by the functionality of other subsystems that make it. For instance, changes in the production subsystem changes the human system functionality. The human subsystem s the most affected due to the ambiguity of the human nature.
The system change requires managerial subsystem to implement change. The following factors change; first the organizational culture changes. The organizational culture changes as a result of changes in the processes, operations, and structures. Systems change has implications to the organizational culture. It changes norms in the organization requiring new organizational personality to fit the modified or changed organization. The people’s shared behaviors have to change to align with the new system. The organizational culture also changes as a result of change in organizational or department mission change. When systems change, the mission is changed which require a different behavior to achieve.
Secondly, the social and economic responsibility of the organization changes: System change lead to change in social responsibility of the organization due to its existence in the society and it obligation 6. The social responsibility involves activities that the organization undertakes for sustainability and mutual benefits to the society.
6"Ten Common Mistakes In Leading Transformational Change - Change Leader's Network", Change Leader's Network, last modified 2014, accessed May 9, 2017,
When system changes the organization changes social responsibility changes as a result of change in capacity and strategic objectives of engagement. The economic responsibility also changes as a result of modification or changes in the organizational system. The economic responsibility involve activities that the organization engages in to ensure it responsibility meets it economic responsibility. The economic responsibilities include; salaries, incentives, return on capital and share prices7. When systems change, the organization ability to pay salaries and reward incentive is lowered. This also reduces the returns to investment and share prices making the organization not to meet it bottom line objective.
The following are implications of system modifications or change;
System changes weaken values in the organization: System changes organizational culture leading to change in beliefs, norms and other shared values in the organization.
Change in attitude: System change leads to individuals in the organization to change their attitude towards their job and organization. A negative attitude develops as a result of changes that require individuals to change from what they are used to doing.
Reduction in creativity: The employees in the organization become less creative and reduce the number of ideas contributed. System change in the organization changes the optimal environment that employees were used to in order to generate new ideas to the organization products and process.
Instability in the organization: System change reduces stability in the organization due to the unpredictable nature of the change system process. There is uncertainty to employees that lead to high turnover. The employees’ performance consistency also reduces due to decrease in loyalty and commitment to the organization.
7Dawn Gilbert and Mike Yearworth, "Complexity In A Systems Engineering Organization: An Empirical Case Study", Systems Engineering 19, no. 5 (2016): 422-435.
Loss of identity: The employees in the organization lose identity with the organization as a result of system change. The employees are unable to associate themselves with the organization as they are used to.
Intelligent leadership is an important decisive tool in managing system change or modification. Intelligent leadership reduces the negative implication of system change in an organization’s workforce. The workforce of an organization is the most affected and requires good leadership to influence their personalities, attitudes, culture, and commitment to the performance of the organization. The following are ways through which an organization can modify it systems without damaging the organizations or losing good leaders or employees;
First, there should be understanding of the organization. A study to understand the complexity of the organization should be undertaken. This will enable understanding of the nature of the organization and the impact that system change will cause to different subsystems. Having a wide knowledge on the organization will enable making of decisive informed decision about the capacity of the organization. This will avoid the organization breaking or getting damaged in the process of modifying the system. The organization knowledge will also enable understanding of the organization culture, values, norms, and attitudes. This will enhance the reinforcement of positive behaviors that will work best with the new system.
Secondly, is informing employees about the system change or modification that the organization is implementing. The employees are made aware about the changes and modification being made. This will enable the employees cooperate, have right attitude and cope with the changing organizational system. This will also enable employees to remain optimistic and motivated in their workplace expecting better performance for the organization.
Third, the change in system should be implemented slowly in the organization. The change or modification should be implemented in bits. This will enable the employees adapt to the changes occurring in the organization8.
8"Frogs, Bikes, "Systems Thinking" And Leadership.,” last modified 2017, accessed May 9, 2017, https://alistairmant.tumblr.com/about.
Spreading system changes for a long vast of time will allow time for employees to start adapting slowly to new processes and operations in the new system. This tactic of intelligent leadership will avoid damaging the organizations existing good behaviors and well as maintain good employees.
Lastly, there should be incentives to employees in the organization. This will involve rewarding performance and promoting senior employees to management roles. This will reinforce and institute good behaviors in the organization. The incentives to enable employee’s change will maintain good employees from leaving the organization. This tactic will also maintain the organizational performance through the phases of system change.
From the explanation of the system change concept explained in this paper, it clear that the impact of system change is dependent on the leadership capacity. System change is an important part of the current organizations in order to remain competitive, relevant and keep with the trends. The environment nowadays is volatile and requires organization to keep modifying and changing in order to maintain its position in the market or society. The study outline that intelligent leadership for managing systems should be applied to ensure the changes made does not damage the organization or lead to lose of key employees in the organization. Therefore, leaders in the organization should understand the complexity in their organizations and adopt appropriate system leadership approach for the success of the organization
 Frese, Michael. "The Word Is Out: We Need An Active Performance Concept For Modern Workplaces". Industrial and Organizational Psychology 1, no. 01 (2008): 67-69.
 McNamara, Carter. "Thinking About Organizations As Systems". Management help.Org. Last modified 2015. Accessed May 9, 2017. https://managementhelp.org/organizations/systems.htm.
 Mant, Alistair. Intelligent Leadership. St Leonards, N.S.W.: Allen & Unwin, 1999.
Michael, Silas. "A Framework For Organizational Knowledge Systems". International Journal of Business and Administrative Studies 2, no. 6 (2016).
 Peppard, Joe. "Rethinking The Concept Of The IS Organization". Information Systems Journal (2016).
"Ten Common Mistakes In Leading Transformational Change - Change Leader's Network". Change Leader's Network. Last modified 2014. Accessed May 9, 2017. https://changeleadersnetwork.com/free-resources/ten-common-mistakes-in-leading-transformation.
 Gilbert, Dawn, and Mike Yearworth. "Complexity In A Systems Engineering Organization: An Empirical Case Study". Systems Engineering 19, no. 5 (2016): 422-435.
"Frogs, Bikes, "Systems Thinking" And Leadership.". Last modified 2017. Accessed May 9, 2017. https://alistairmant.tumblr.com/about
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