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Cherise O'Connell's e-Portfolio for EXL Scholars 


Activity Applying Theory

In my Strategic Communication class, I wrote a "Leading Change Report" which incorporated applying theories and concepts to a practical problem. Here is a portion of that paper:


For this assignment, I interviewed the Director of Nursing of a Residential Treatment Center. This center has recently went through the change of being taken over by a new owner. This change has led to a complete transformation of the center and everything associated with it.


In class we discussed Zaleznik’s theory on differences between leaders and managers. In this theory, he defines a manager as someone who is a “problem solver, persistent, tough-minded, analytical, tolerant, has impersonal attitudes towards goals, and views work as an enabling process involving some combination of people and ideas interacting to establish strategies and make decisions.” During my interview, the Director of Nursing mainly referred to herself as a “director.” After I gave her Zaleznik’s definitions, she said that she is more of a leader than a manager. She said that she is always very personable and wants to motivate and excite her employees.


Burns’ theory on transactional and transformational leadership describes two kinds of leadership (Burke, 2008). Transactional leaders use conventional reward and punishment to gain compliance from their followers ( Transformational leadership “recognizes and exploits and existing need or demand of a potential follower and looks for potential motives in followers, seeks to satisfy higher needs, and engages the full person in the follower (Burke, 2008). The Director of Nursing used transformational leadership during this organizational change. She said that she focused on her staff and their needs during this transition. She also tried to make sure everyone felt included in the change.


Burke, W. Warner. Organizational Change: Theory and Practice, 2nd Edition. Sage Publications, Inc. 2008