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What was the role of leadership in the transformation of a failing Irish Insurance business

Coughlan, Ray (2015) What was the role of leadership in the transformation of a failing Irish Insurance business. Masters thesis, Dublin, National College of Ireland.

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This research examines the role of leadership in the turnaround of a failing Irish insurance business. The economic downturn has led to several insurance companies reducing their cost base, which usually starts with employees losing their jobs. The company the research was carried out in appears to be slightly ahead of the curve at this point in time and the research hopes to show key learning from their change programme. Recent research has indicated that leaders need to have an interpersonal leadership style, demonstrate humility and they need to appear less celebrity like, remote and elite, rather being more human and personably approachable (CIPD 2014). The researcher sought to establish the leadership styles and techniques demonstrated in the company during the change period and the impact these characteristics may have had. The literature review looked at various theories and approaches to leadership, whilst also looking at the role of leadership in engagement, culture, communications and what part leadership development may have played.

The researcher investigated the turnaround by interviewing leaders from a cross section of seniority within the business, from team leaders to senior managers during the period of transformation. The researcher used qualitative methods via interviews with the ten participants. The findings from the interviews were then compared to results from employee engagement surveys over the period of transformation which specifically looked at leaders’ roles within the company. These results also served as a way for the researcher to validate the findings made. The research found that emotional and social competence played a key role in the leader’s behaviours and that no one style was apparent. Communication was vital throughout the process and that due to poor communications at the beginning many leaders had to win back trust of their employees. The leaders felt that once the communications had been corrected and trust restored, the buy in to the new vision was easier. The investment in leadership training helped leaders set ambitious goals and increase their capability to manage performance was also found to be a key driver in the turnaround.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HG Finance > Insurance
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology > Leadership
H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > HD28 Management. Industrial Management > Human Resource Management > Leadership
Divisions: School of Business > Master of Arts in Human Resource Management
Depositing User: Caoimhe Ní Mhaicín
Date Deposited: 13 Oct 2015 16:26
Last Modified: 05 Feb 2016 15:19

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