Managing Change Essay

14529 Words Apr 14th, 2013 59 Pages
Managing Change Initiatives: Fantasy or Reality?
The Case of Public Sector Organisations

Ebrahim Soltani
University of Kent Business School, Canterbury, UK
Pei-chun Lai
University of Strathclyde Business School, Glasgow, UK
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
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Key Words: Change Initiatives; Success / Failure; UK Public Sector; Case Study.
1. Introduction
It seems hard to deny that the conditions of heightened competition have forced many organizations to adopt more congruent and flexible strategies that focus on organization-wide change programmes (see Gehani, 1993; Ellinger et al., 1999:387). Here identifying the need for a particular organisation-wide change, and leading organisations through that change is widely recognised as one the most critical and challenging responsibilities of the management of private sector organisations. At the same time, the take-up of such initiatives are also notable in non-for-profit organisations. Previous research (e.g. Hopwood, 1984; Chun & Degeling, 1991; Covaleski et al. 1993; Comerford & Abernethy, 1999: 93) does indeed reveal that, the public sector in most Western economies has been subject to increasing demands for greater financial accountability, efficiency and effectiveness over the last decade. The result of such demands and the necessity to match services more closely to people’s lives (Modernising Government, 1999), have been to convince the management of public sector organizations of the need to lay far greater stress upon practical issues of various approaches and tools of change (Keep, 1995:113). Reflecting the sustained interest in and heavy emphasis on the application

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