22nd Organisational Storytelling Seminar - Leadership in the 'Post-Truth' era: storytelling for good or evil?

In this seminar, we will discuss how new conceptual and methodological developments in storytelling literature including narrative and discourse studies (e.g. positioning theory, rhetorical analysis, and psychoanalysis, and counter-narrative) can help explore and elucidate the complexity of leadership storytelling processes. The seminar will be hosted by the Centre for Leadership and Strategy and will be held on the 8th June 2017. Read more

Portsmouth Business School's Responsible Business Week Conference

The Centre for Strategy and Leadership played its part in the Business School's Responsible Business Week Conference in collaboration with Business in the Community.

The conference, organized by Professor McCalman, Zoe Dann, Associate Dean (Students) and colleagues from the Business Servcies and Research Office brought together responsible leaders and businesses as well as showcasing our own students engagement in issues such as, Developing a Fairer Society, Sustainability and Wellbeing.  Read more 

Inaugural Lecture

by James McCalman, Professor of Leadership Studies, Director of the Centre for Structure and Leadership.

James McCalman is a senior executive with leadership in the private, higher education, and charitable sectors.

'Part of the solution or part of the problem - do we really need leaders?' James McCalman Inaugural Lecture.


Book for website published 3rd May 2015

Leading Cultural Change - The Theory and Practice of Successful Organizational Transformation 

The aims of the book

Culture really does matter. How an organization does things makes the difference in the competitive world. The culture of the organization is the most significant strategic variable that executive leaders need to manage effectively. This text offers a unique blend of theory and practice in both an engaging and thought provoking way that will enable smarter decisions and actions in relation to cultural change activities. This book aims to help the reader understand the significance and importance of the socio/cultural context of organizations. This is important as the degree of change required in many organizations involves cultural transformation. There is a need for a greater understanding of cultural change work within these organizations. We attempt to explain some of the fundamental issues that surround cultural change programmes. To appreciate the dynamics and the problems of leading cultural change in an organization, one needs to understand cultural theory and organizational development (OD) methods drawn from the behavioural sciences. Managers operating at every level need to be able to critically reflect on the underlying assumptions regarding their ability to influence change in an organization. Changing culture is ultimately concerned with leadership and power issues, and this book considers change management in these terms.

A dominant theme advanced by this book is the assertion that culture controls organizational expression. Thus culture is correlated with the idea of the learning organization in the sense that all change involves new learning at the level of the individual, the group and the intergroup. We seek to understand cultural change management in detail. We simply don’t know enough about the processes of cultural change and call for more longitudinal studies that explain change in cultural and process terms. There is little doubt that organizations, when they embark on change initiatives, should consider the cultural dimension. This book aims to make a contribution to expanding the change manager’s knowledge of the cultural concept in relation to strategic organizational development.

Another aim of this book is to advance the idea that organizational culture remains the most critical aspect of the managerial experience. It is widely understood that when a change strategy is incompatible with the culture of the organization, the strategy fails. Managers can find themselves trapped within their current market dynamics, unable to escape the clutches and influence of established cultural paradigms as they try to navigate serious strategic change. As a consequence they need to have some kind of developed conceptual and practical framework for both understanding organizational culture and for working with its dynamic processes. Culture controls expression, and how organizational members express themselves impacts the strategic potential of the organization.

Our main assertion is that culture can be changed in a managed way. Many popular management books are ‘how to’ sequential and common sense approaches supported with heroic vignettes of chief executives who transformed ‘weak’ cultures into winning ‘strong’ cultures. Such populism lacks theoretical power and airbrushes over the harsh complexity and subsequent difficulties. As a result practitioners remain largely ignorant about the concept of culture, its dynamics and how one could set about trying to describe it and then change it. This book sets out to explain what culture is, how it forms, how one can analyse it, the difficulties associated with changing an organizational culture, and a broad review of the literature relevant to organizational cultural change.


From the authors 18th May 2015 26KB