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Sibanye: Changing mindsets in mining through contextual leadership Case Study

This report examines Dawie Mosterts trouble with persuading a recently acquired

management team in adopting the Sibanye way. The acquired team is being resistive to change,

and holding onto their entrenched culture. They are using an informative power base by not

sharing information with subordinates and hurting morale. Also they are not allowing lower

level employees to participate in decision making.

To address the problems, Mostert will need to implement Kotters eight step plan for

implementing change. The plan would involve spreading Sibanyes values through change

agents and a coalition. This would be the most effective because it is addressing the status-quo

of the acquired organizational culture, and moving it to one that aligns with the values of

Sibanye. After it is moved, it would be secured and reinforced, so it would remain and become

the new status-quo.

Sibanye: Changing mindsets in mining through contextual leadership

Statement of the problems

Dawie Mostert, has several problems that he must address regarding a recent merger. Firstly, a

long term problem is seen with the acquired management having a strong entrenched culture,

and is resisting Sibanyes culture. Secondly, a short term problem is displayed by the acquired

management using information power base, instead of the rewarding one Sibanye encourages.

Thirdly, a short term problem is the suppression of participation from employees by

management, whereas Sibanye wants everyone to be part of the team.

The symptoms can be seen in employees showing a compliance or resistive type of response to

the old management style, as well as poor divisional cohesiveness. This could have been

potentially started by the previous owners using traditional leadership styles, using coercive

power and most likely running the business on the bottom line.

Causes of the Problem

Culture as a Barrier to Change
Mostert is faced with the problem of having to persuade the acquired management team to

change their old way of doing things. The acquired management team has an entrenched

traditional culture, which doesnt line up with Sibanyes. Culture can be a liability when the

shared values dont agree with those that further organizations effectiveness (Langton,

Robbins, & Judge, 2013, p. 343). This can be a big problem in hard economic times, where

change is needed to be made to survive. Lack of change can result in financial losses, employee

morale loss, and the companies going under.

Because of the harsh economic landscape of southern Africa, the resistance to change can be

attributed to economic factors. Changes to job tasks or work routines, especially when pay is

Sibanye: Changing mindsets in mining through contextual leadership

tied with productivity, can arouse fear in individuals (Langton, Robbins, & Judge, 2013, p. 350).

This can be problematic to management, because typically upper managements salary is tied

to its performance. Because of the large number of micro-lenders taking advantage of hard-

earned income, employees and management could fear changes could jeopardize the ability to

repay debts.

Information Base of Power

The acquired management is exercising an information power base over its subordinates, which

contradicts Sibanyes power base. The acquired management is showing information power

through their withholding of information from its employees (Langton, Robbins, & Judge, 2013,

p. 224). Control of information can have an impact on morale and performance, especially in

uncertain situations as a new owner wanting to bring change.

Sibanyes way of exercising power is focused on reward power, through various programs and

incentives. Some of the rewards Sibanye offers are the house incentive plans, basic financial

literacy training and profit sharing plans. All these plans promote commitment and are

considered more positive than informative. Having a positive power base is especially useful

because of the recent troubles other mines have been having with trade unions, riots and

employee dissatisfaction.

Discouragement to Participate
The acquired mine is not being an effective team, which is important for its success as a

business. The poor teamwork is shown through the management not allowing the subordinate

employees to be part of decision making. Employee participation is a characteristic of an

effective team (Langton, Robbins, & Judge, 2013, p. 157). Having a lack of participation creates

Sibanye: Changing mindsets in mining through contextual leadership

lack of discussions, which leads to disconnected communication between management and its

subordinates. This can be problematic, especially in hard economic times when new ideas can

be critical for survival.

Sibanye wants to encourage participation of employees, as they are considered stakeholders to

them. By giving employees the power to participate, new ideas and discussions can be had. This

is especially important Sibanye as they have several divisions that need to cohabitate and

synergize with each other. The acquired malmanagements team structure is not right for this

kind organization, and will need to change in order to succeed within Sibanye.

Decision Criteria and Alternative Solutions

Mosterts main problem is changing the culture within the acquired company, to the one

Sibanye wants it to have. In order to change the culture, Mostert could try using the following

three solutions: Kotters eight step plan, education or building support across the organization.

The three solutions will be measured by implementation time, risk of failing and cost.

Kotters Eight-Step Plan for Implementing Change

The first solution is Kotters Eight-Step Plan, which strategically places a new culture into an

organization. This is would be done by demonstrating a need for change, strategically managing

the change process and demonstrating the effectiveness of the change once it has caught on

(Langton, Robbins, & Judge, 2013, p. 347). This process is considered time consuming because

of all the steps that are required. It has high costs associated with it because new programs,

positions, individual empowerments might have to be implemented. But it will have low risk,

because of the strategic adaptation of the process to the company. It will also be able to

address the status quo, and help move it to where it aligns with Sibanyes.

Sibanye: Changing mindsets in mining through contextual leadership

Education and communication

The second solution is to educate the culture to the acquired management, which would clearly

communicate the benefits and necessity for the change. This approach can be slow, depending

on the size of the management team. Once some people have had bought into it, they would

help further other employees into it, which would accelerate the acceptance of the change.

This will have low costs, because no major initiatives need to be created. This will also have a

medium risk associated with it because this kind of change doesnt challenge the status quo,

and has a chance of not sticking.

Building support across the organization

The third solution is looking at the interests of others and trying to include them in a change

that would benefit everyone (Langton, Robbins, & Judge, 2013, p. 239). This could be a solution

where a support is buildup across the acquired team, and a change can be made that

encompasses their interests politically. This approach is very slow, as a lot of interests need to

be considered. This will have low costs because no programs or incentives need to be created.

But this will have a low risk, because the interests of the people and the organization as a whole

can be addressed.

Recommended Course of Action

For the solutions proposed in the previous section, Kotters eight step plan would be the best

course of action for Mostert. This is because it would be able to create a unique solution for

creating change, as well as being low risk.

The plan would be implemented in the following steps. Firstly, Mostert would create an

urgency for change by teaching the acquired management team the synergies that exist

Sibanye: Changing mindsets in mining through contextual leadership

between all the different divisions of Sibanye and their buy-in is essential for success. Secondly,

Mostert would have to form a coalition with several members of the acquired team, by either

appealing to their values, using logic or exercising his referent power to gain their support.

Some members could be mine workers who are looking to grow and have promise for

management and leading. Mostert could even look at having more native Africans in the

coalition, to help with black empowerment. Thirdly, he would use the caring vision of Sibanye,

and communicate it throughout the acquired company. Fourthly, he could empower some

members in the organization to be change agents and leaders. These change agents could

publicize the perks Sibanye offers, as well as share more performance information with

subordinates and let all employees take part in some decision making. Fifthly, Mostert would

measure the results so far, and demonstrate the success of the changes through profit

statements and testimonials from various members in the acquired organization

Contingency Plan
In the event that the eight step plan doesnt work, the building support across the organization

plan would be used. This plan would involve speaking to various members of the acquired

management and hearing their stake in the company. Once their ideas would be heard, a

change plan would try and acknowledge the interests of the members, to help and push more

political strategy through to them. This plan would be utilized if the politics of the acquired

management have a high politically resistive status quo.

Langton, N., Robbins, S. P., & Judge, T. A. (2013). Fundamentals of Organizational Behaviour. Pearson
Education Canada.