Organizational Change: The Human Resources Leader Role


Organizational change is inevitable in most organizations as it assists in the enhancement of its performance as well as encourages the migration process from lower to a higher level in line with the future projections. There are two types of organizational changes. The first type is a strategic change which relates to organizational transformation through the introduction of such strategic initiatives as mergers, acquisitions, restructuring, and downsizing. The second type is an operational change which relates to new technology, reporting structures, policies, and procedures. Organizational change has a direct impact on employees. Human Resources leaders play a critical role in organizational change and create harmony between management and employees.

Role of Human Resources Leader in Organizational Change

A Human Resources leader acts as a strategic partner in any organization. According to Newstrom and Davis (2002, p.346), the leader plays a role of a ‘transformational leader’ during the planning stage of any organizational change. An organizational change elicits anxiety among employees and is often faced by resistance. Employees view change as a threat to their status quo. Involving a Human Resources leader in managing organizational change on a planning stage ensures a smooth transition for employees. It further ensures that the Human Resources practices are aligned to the introduced changes. The leader can anticipate emergent needs, identify skill gaps and embark on resource planning to support change initiatives. Communication of change is embedded in recruitment. Through training and development, a Human Resources leader facilitates organizational change by equipping employees with the skills required. Employees with outstanding performance may be recognized as a way of fostering the organizational culture and enhancing changes. Griffin (2006, p.7) holds that human resources form part of the critical resources that need to be properly managed in an organization. This can positively influence the management of other resources. An organizational change elicits a shift of expectations whereby both management and employees have varying expectations. A Human Resource leader plays a crucial role in managing these expectations and averting detrimental rifts between management and employees. This creates the need to embed organizational culture, a role that is predominantly played by a Human Resources leader. Further, the leader is tasked with managing employees who are negatively impacted by the change and is responsible to reassure the other employees that the change initiative will have a positive impact.

Implications of Organizational Change to the Human Resources Leader

The involvement of a Human Resources Leader in organizational change has various implications. First, the leader endeavors to create synergies in the organization as a strategic partner. Secondly, the leader is a change agent and manages employees through the change process. Thirdly, the leader helps foster the desired culture and creates awareness across the organization. Fourthly, a Human Resources leader acts as a communication champion during the change process, which helps ‘sell’ the idea to employees (Robbins & Judge 2009, p.657). Lastly, the leader becomes the employees’ advocate, always looking out for their interests. The organizational change, therefore, compels the leaders to initiate mentorship to hand over the responsibilities to newer generations.


Organizations value the role of a Human Resources leader ineffective management change. The organization leaders are very essential in making significant decisions. Additionally, they formulate policies and regulations to govern the transition of organizational changes. Organizations that embrace the role of human resources leaders’ transition smoothly and their change initiative gets quick employee acknowledgment.


Chen, C & Huang, J 2009, ‘Strategic Human Resource Practices and Innovation Performance’ –The Mediate Role of Knowledge Management Capacity, Journal of Business Research, vol 62, p.104–114.

Griffin, W. Ricky 2006, Management, 8th edn, Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston.

Newstrom, W. John& Davis, Keith, 2002, Organizational Behavior: Human Behavior at Work, 11th edn, Tata McGraw-Hill, IN, USA.

Robbins, P. Stephen & Judge, A. Timothy, 2009, Organizational Behavior, 13thedn, Prentice Hall, New York.

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