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Change Through Transformation: An exploratory case study on leadership in contrasting organisational contexts of IKEA Sweden.
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Umeå School of Business and Economics (USBE), Business Administration.
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Umeå School of Business and Economics (USBE), Business Administration.
2016 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (professional degree), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

As corporations have to adapt to an ever-faster spinning global environment they often turn to projects as a facilitator to positive change. With the increase in temporary projects more line managers are faced with leading projects in the permanent organisation, a task that can be widely different from leadership in the permanent organisation. Our purpose is to expand the theoretical and practical knowledge on how managers view the contrast on leadership in the temporary organisation in comparison with the permanent organisation in our case company IKEA and how organisational culture influence this leadership. Which lead us to our research question, How do managers at IKEA compare their leadership styles between being a line manager in comparison with a manager in a temporary organisation?

In order to answer the research questions we conducted a qualitative method study, using semi-structured interviews as a tool we interviewed nine senior managers at IKEA who have significant experience from leadership in both organisational contexts. The managers also answered a leadership test for us to better understand their leadership; furthermore we interviewed an HR-experienced manager for context. To interpret the data, an exhaustive theoretical frame of reference was constructed with regards to our purpose, built mainly of leadership theory, organisational culture and differences organisational contexts. After presenting our data based on our main themes, a thematic analysis was conducted on the data gathered that summarized and discussed the important findings discovered in our transcripted interview material. The themes constructed were “leading to succeed”, “communication is key”, “focus on the individual”, “supportive surroundings” and “strength through unity”. Further, a framework is assembled and presented, highlighting the contrasts between the organisational contexts in regards to our constructed thematic frameworks.

In our conclusions we found that the basis of our participants transformative leadership does not change between the organisational contexts, it only slightly adapts to organisational routines that differ. Furthermore we establish a connection between IKEA’s transformative organisational culture and leadership in the organisation, which are analogous in their cornerstones. The theoretical contributions complements previous research within leadership in temporary organisations, with the additions of organisational culture and the managerial perspective. And our practical contributions assist IKEA and similar companies in their understanding of their managers’ views on the fundamental contrasts in leadership in the different organisational contexts. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. , 84 p.
Keyword [en]
transformational leadership, transformational culture, organisational culture, IKEA, temporary organisation, permanent organisation, project management, leadership, managerial perspective
National Category
Business Administration
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-123230OAI: diva2:944092
Educational program
International Business Program
Available from: 2016-07-07 Created: 2016-06-28 Last updated: 2016-07-07Bibliographically approved

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