Defence Research and Development Canada — Toronto (A): The Organizational Alignment Program
(9 pages of text)
The world had changed as a result of the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. Canada was engaged in the Afghanistan War, and the first casualties were being felt. It was November 28, 2005, as Rene LaRose, the director general of Defence Research and Development Canada (DRDC) Toronto, sat in his office preparing for an all-staff briefing the following day. He knew that for his research institute to remain relevant and be a major contributor to the emerging needs of the Canadian Forces and national security in this rapidly changing landscape, a major transformation of his centre was required. The Canadian Forces was undergoing its own metamorphosis under its new Chief of Defence Staff, General Rick Hillier, and DRDC Toronto needed to be in synch with this development. LaRose had spent several years trying to convey the message that profound changes at DRDC Toronto were needed — changes that were as much cultural as they were structural. The sense of urgency was now acute with Canada at war, and DRDC Toronto was poised to embark on a major organizational alignment program.
This case series is geared towards an MBA or executive MBA program, or a leadership program in organizational behaviour in which students have already been exposed to leadership fundamentals. It can be used to explore change management or leadership concepts or both, and touches on the need for teamwork to facilitate the change process and create a high-performance organization by adopting an integrative approach to achieving results. Part (A) delves into how to initiate a major cultural change and the leadership qualities needed to undertake this. Part (B) then builds on the changes that have already taken place under Part (A) and the steps needed to cultivate a new working environment and begin to institutionalize the cultural change. Both parts have been structured so that they can be used either as standalone cases, or in conjunction with each other to illustrate more fully the level of effort and commitment required to transform an organization. The case series objectives are as follows:
- To assess what leaders need to consider and do when embarking on a major cultural change.
- To discuss the challenges encountered and key elements needed to engage and navigate an organization through a major transition. Students should understand the major considerations, challenges, and enablers facing leaders in making transitions
- To explore the differences between implementing cultural versus structural organizational change.
- To explore what constitutes good leadership — what good leaders do and who good leaders are.
The case series can be taught during two 80-minute sessions.
Canada, Medium, 2005
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