Managing change initiatives: Fantasy or reality? The case of public sector organisations

Soltani, Ebrahim and Lai, Pei-Chun and Mahmoudi, Vahid (2007) Managing change initiatives: Fantasy or reality? The case of public sector organisations. Total Quality Management and Business Excellence, 18 (1-2). pp. 153-179. ISSN 1478-3371. (The full text of this publication is not currently available from this repository. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided)

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It is becoming a commonplace statement that change initiative programmes are key tools to organisational long-term success. To this end, the last two decades have witnessed a surge of interest in the take-up of various change initiative programmes. Organisational change initiatives, we are told by many commentators, can maximise shareholder value (i.e. economic value theory) and develop organisational capabilities (i.e. organisational capability theory). Specifically, in recent years, as companies have been confronted by the conditions of heightened competition, globalisation, and advancements in communications and information technologies, economic recession and a simultaneous search for excellence, so the desire to take up change initiatives has interested the majority of leading organisations. At the same time, however, the analysis of the prospects for the majority of change management tools reveals so many deepseated barriers to change with the consequence of little success in practice. This article explores this apparent contradiction, arguing that, despite a heightened interest in the take-up of change initiatives, very few change programmes produce an improvement in bottom-line, exceed the company’s cost of capital, or even improve service delivery. It also offers an explanation of why this is the case. To provide empirical verification for this, the article presents the results of four case studies conducted at public sector organisations in the UK. The findings continue to point to the ineffective nature of the top management’s contribution to managing organisational change programmes. Finally, using the case evidence, combined with previous research findings, the article explores the implications for senior management of attempts to move from, as Mintzberg (1999 : 146) put it, ‘direction and supervision towards protection and support’.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled keywords: change initiatives; success/failure; UK public sector; case study
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > HD28 Management. Industrial Management
Divisions: Faculties > Social Sciences > Kent Business School
Depositing User: Suzanne Duffy
Date Deposited: 14 May 2008 07:05
Last Modified: 09 Jun 2014 11:22
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
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