Topeka system and effectively leading organizational change


The dynamic nature of modern business environments has necessitated effective leadership of organizational change. This paper evaluates the perspectives of change leadership advanced by the Topeka system by considering two articles: “Building a company of leaders” (Cohen, 2004) and “Topeka pride- Twenty years of team work background notes” (n.d). The leadership of change in organizations portrayed in the Topeka system is further compared to Kotter’s eight-step process of change and Black and Gregersen’s (2008) “It starts with one” perspectives. Important attributes of effective leadership of change advanced in the Topeka system are noted to be: articulate vision establishment and effective communication of such throughout the organization; and Team work development and empowerment of individuals in a team.

Keywords: Topeka system, Leadership


The dynamic nature of business environment in the modern times has brought about the need for transformational leadership in organizations. The traditional approach where the leader was supposed to dominate and control every aspect of the organization is no longer tenable. Changes in the social perspectives in organizations have for instance necessitated development of teams for organizational success. Such transformation from autocratic to participative forms of leadership has ensured that leadership is not only rested with the top management but also at lower levels of the organization.

This changing perspective has distanced management from leadership. While management is more towards predictability and order; leadership is involved in risk-taking and transformation (Sansom, n.d). Effective management however includes aspects of good leadership since one of the functions of management is to guide the organization towards a better future. This paper first relates the management philosophy advanced in two articles: “Building a company of leaders” (Cohen, 2004) and “Topeka pride- Twenty years of team work background notes” [henceforth herein referred to as “Topeka pride”] (n.d); to effective ways of leading change and to John Kotter’s eight-step process of leading change and Black and Gregersen’s perspectives in “It Starts with One: Changing Individuals Changes Organisations.” Go to part 2.

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