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Case Study: Catalytic Leadership and Sociocultural Homeostasis

Summary: Newly appointed CEO Tõive Kivikas of Swedish nuclear industry software company Studsvik used catalytic leadership to keep the company operating and bring it into a leadership position in its field. At the time of Kivikas’ appointment, the company was government owned and its original goal of finding new nuclear power solutions was not being met, so he was expected to preside over its shutting down. Kivikas held meetings focusing on alternatives to shutting Studsvik down, allowing all employees to attend. They realized that they had the power to control the direction of the company. Kivikas cultivated a work environment that encouraged experimentation and collaboration. He favored face-to-face communication over written missives, touring the facilities regularly and engaging workers informally. He also put new self-management systems and a flexible budget in place. Such tactics caused some resistance from the board of directors, which was a recurring source of conflict, with ten different board chairs being elected over Kivikas' eight-year tenure. Within a year of Kivikas' instatement as CEO, Studsvik was turning a profit, and within four years it was the third most profitable company in Sweden.

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  • Topics: Leadership
  • Keywords: Board of directors, Case study, Collaboration, Communication, Leadership, Management styles, Morale, Organizational culture, Change management,Sweden
  • Author: Ehin, Charles (Kalev); Kivikas, Tõive
  • Journal: Journal for Quality and Participation