Leader personality, managerial attention, and disruptive technologies

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Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
A1 Alkuperäisartikkeli tieteellisessä aikakauslehdessä
Date
2017-03-31
Major/Subject
Mcode
Degree programme
Language
en
Pages
29
47-75
Series
MANAGEMENT AND ORGANIZATIONAL HISTORY
Abstract
Managerial attention to the leader’s strategic designs has been identified as a key prerequisite for success in the adoption of new technologies. The purpose of this study is to describe and analyze how the battlecruiser concept as an organizational gestalt was developed, adopted, and assessed in the British Royal Navy (RN) in 1904–1918 from the perspective of the top leader’s personality and managerial attention. The battlecruiser was a pet project of the controversial Admiral Sir John Fisher, who instituted a thorough technological, organizational, and cultural turnaround in the RN before the First World War (WWI). The battlecruiser, ‘The Greyhound of the Sea’, was the largest and most expensive type of capital ship in the WWI era. It was developed to hunt down enemy commerce-raiding cruisers all around the globe, and to act as a powerful scouting arm of the Grand Fleet. In action, however, it proved more vulnerable than expected. The contribution of the article is threefold. First, it explicates the key personal characteristics and effectuation mechanisms of top leaders in persuading the organizational adoption of a novel concept such as the battlecruiser. Second, it describes the process of adoption and change when the technology is gradually proving less efficient than predicted. Finally, it posits that the evolving organizational gestalts strongly moderate the process of adoption and correction.
Description
Keywords
Admiral John Fisher, attention-based view, battlecruiser, Leadership, organizational gestalt, the Royal Navy
Other note
Citation
Tikkanen , H 2017 , ' Leader personality, managerial attention, and disruptive technologies : the adoption of the battlecruiser concept in the Royal Navy, 1904–1918 ' , MANAGEMENT AND ORGANIZATIONAL HISTORY , vol. 12 , no. 1 , pp. 47-75 . https://doi.org/10.1080/17449359.2017.1308259