Axis Bank-Change Management Approaches

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Ravindra Sangvai, Dr Rajan Dhamdhere2


Axis Bank is the third largest private sector bank in India and has undergone change management under successive change leaders in the form of its Chief Executive Officers. Their different approaches have brought the bank to the forefront of Indian banking. The bank is a leader in technology adoption and has been successful against other large private sector banks. Therefore, study of its change management profile and changing approaches based on published literature becomes imperative for a researcher and student of change management in banking. As they say in an amusing way, almost everything appears to be changing at Axis, except for the food menu. Different CEOs have contributed substantially for growth of the bank with their unique combination of change management initiatives.Comparison of styles of change leaders throws light on the consistency of change efforts and survival instinct of the bank and all the three leaders faced their challenges through external and internal change agents and involved communication as the main strategy. When a large bank transforms itself while staying within the constraints of being a public sector bank vis a vis a private sector bank in India, the story of such change management is indeed unique. It challenges conventional wisdom in many ways countering stereotypes of leadership, motivation, and change management. The transformation exercise attempted consciously to reinvent itself by Axis Bank under the successive leadership is unique and was key to change. These transformational initiatives have helped the bank cement its leading position and hence proves the research hypothesis deductively. It is a people story, achieved through well planned communication strategy, breaking hierarchies and reviving sense of team play and employee participation. The bank succeeded in its efforts to improve performance and became customer oriented. The bank has adopted digitisation of services in a big way and succeeded in digitising customer journeys. Therefore, change management is an enabler for greater performance and survival of the bank and hence proves the research hypothesis deductively. The bank has established change management as its core capability through the efforts of the three successive change leaders in the form of its Chairmen and managing Directors under changing economic scenarios.

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