Leadership & Change - How to implement change in an all-male & all-scientist team?

Essay, 2010

9 Pages, Grade: 1,3


Table of Contents

Situation - My attempt to implement what I had learned the day before

Complication - Theory vs. practical experience

Solution - Learning by doing & my personal conclusion


Table of Figures

Figure 1 - Participants of the seminar and the core values of Roche Diagnostics

Figure 2 - Change as process through time

Figure 3 - Our factors on influence in the change process

Figure 4 - Mood & time correlation during a change project

Figure 5 - The three theoretical stages of change

Figure 6 - Effective change communication Figure

7 - My personal conclusion!!!!

Situation - My attempt to implement what I had learned the day before

As the only woman and the only person with a background in business, it was a real challenge from the first second to lead a group of seven people, who hold PhDs in chemistry, biology and medicine. I tried to make use of existing talent for change, without implementing disruptive change programs and by creating the conditions that allow dynamic innovation to emerge (Christensen, C. | 2002 | p.192-198). In the introduction, I was taught that the spirit of the team is based on trust among the team members in order to understand that everybody’s ideas are valued. Trust is the foundation to express ideas (Christensen, C. | 2009 | XV-XX). After a brainstorming session we shared the goal to deliver results in two types of metrics:

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To our understanding, people and corporate culture are the most important drivers of change. Change is inherently associated with innovation and takes attention as well as resources from efforts to achieve long-term performance goals (Balogun, J. | 2004 | p.3). In our case, Roche Diagnostics faced fundamental change. The decision to act was promoted by two circumstances: a sharp decline in profitability, promising new prospects in Romania. The key issue in the team was the educational background as the team members were very good scientists but fairly poor managers. But change has to be well managed with all team members involved - together with learning and initiating improvements (Mendonca, L. | 2008 No 1 | p.14-17). I outlined clear project responsibilities, which increased the team motivation, as our task seemed manageable. Moreover successful completion of milestones was rewarded.

Complication - Theory vs. practical experience

It took the team very long to get acquainted to the case situation. We had many arguments and initially change was widely resisted.

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Mostly not on purpose, some members blocked my agenda. I responded, but I did not pay too much attention to their concerns and hence I did not answer the questions very well. They felt that I ignored their opinion and they called my commitment into question. Later on I learned that the members felt treated like a machine - just result driven and not recognized as a “living organism“ (Mintzberg, H. | 1992 | p. 39-59). As a result I had to adapt to the scientific way of thinking, but did not know how to do that. I was trained to think in a linear one-two-three way, but transformational change requires leadership pushing on multiple fronts simultaneously Cameron, E.; Green, M. | 2004 | p. 137).

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We were supposed to develop a business strategy with an integrated corporate strategy based on information provided by a handout about the company’s past with financial statements and explanations. The main message was that throughout every economic cycle it held true that great companies will usually win at the end of the day. But they have to take advantage of every opportunity in the pharmaceutics market to make the cost structure more agile with focusing on flexibility and reduction. The scientists learned in their studies that they should not trust any number they had not checked before. So, whenever I tried to develop a new idea based on the provided information they started to check the numbers. They did not listen anymore until everybody had the same number on his calculator. We lost valuable time, because their train of thoughts was: “If you can not measure the numbers, you can not manage them.“. Under time pressure, I was not able to convince them of a “can do - trust attitude“ when facing the complexity of the numbers provided. I could not move them and myself beyond our comfort zone in order to solve our case in time. All of us did not show enough openness towards new ideas and ways of problem solving. I suggested working hypothesis driven. Some team members wanted to solve the case solely based on the historical numbers. I had to change my strategy, because the team did not respond to my way of problem solving. Presumably, some people were passionate about innovation and others who felt uncomfortable about any topic related to change. I did not ask the right questions to understand their motivation. Sometimes questioning is perhaps more important than having the right answer, because there is no one-way solution. As a team we were continually evolving, but we did not know how to decide on the best solution.


Excerpt out of 9 pages


Leadership & Change - How to implement change in an all-male & all-scientist team?
Leuphana Universität Lüneburg  (Management & Entrepreneurship - BWL )
Master Veranstaltung - Management of Change
Catalog Number
ISBN (eBook)
File size
1038 KB
Leadership, Change
Quote paper
Susanne Handorf (Author), 2010, Leadership & Change - How to implement change in an all-male & all-scientist team?, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/145146


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