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Perspectives on leading change: Exploring change readiness strategies used in the Bahamian financial services sector

McCartney, Tanya C.

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Abstract

The Bahamian financial services sector is experiencing tremendous change driven largely by regulatory initiatives and technological innovation. The purpose of this thesis is to explore the perspectives of senior executives in this context on organisational readiness for change and its perceived impact.

A social constructionist ontology and interpretivist epistemology were employed to identify consistent themes and analyse findings. Data was collected using twenty semi-structured interviews of senior executives. The study revealed key themes of communication, capacity building, leadership, cross-functional collaboration and stakeholder engagement, a flexible approach to policy procedure and practice and organisational culture to elucidate the barriers and precursors to successful transformation. The findings indicated that senior executives understand the construct of change readiness. Most participants perceived there to be a high level of readiness within their respective institutions. While it was expected that there would be a greater appreciation for the active role played by senior executives in creating readiness, this was not the case. The majority of participants intimated that creating readiness was a task for external consultants and change agents other than themselves. It became clear, considering strategic leadership and relational awareness theory, that there was an opportunity to provide a mechanism that would highlight the vital role of senior executives in creating change readiness. In addition, an inconsistent approach was used by international and indigenous financial institutions to create readiness. Hence, the provision of a “strategic readiness awareness” tool is proposed that may be used across all types of financial institutions, increasing consistency across the sector to guide leaders on the considerations required to create organisational readiness for change.

Capacity building was identified as a precursor to change readiness by the majority of participants. While senior executives emphasised training and development, it was anticipated that a comprehensive knowledge management strategy would have been proffered as an enabler to change readiness. This was not the case, highlighting the need for a comprehensive knowledge management model. In addition, the misalignment of cultures between global head offices and Bahamas based subsidiaries or branches which could impact readiness was also revealed. Hence, there is an opportunity to adopt strategies to ensure that a consistent culture is embedded across the enterprise.

Based on the research findings, contributions are made to knowledge and practice. This thesis is based in the private regulated sector. Specific recommendations are put forward for use by a diverse range of financial institutions with specific recommendations also made for indigenous and international financial institutions.

Thesis Type Thesis
Deposit Date Nov 7, 2022
Publicly Available Date Nov 7, 2022
DOI https://doi.org/10.17869/ENU.2022.2950804
Keywords Change readiness, organisational change management, social constructionist, financial services, leadership, organisational culture
Public URL http://researchrepository.napier.ac.uk/Output/2950804
Award Date Jul 8, 2022

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