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Participation as the key to successful change – a public sector case study

Geraldine O’Brien (Michael Smurfit Graduate School of Business, University College Dublin, Blackrock, Ireland)

Leadership & Organization Development Journal

ISSN: 0143-7739

Article publication date: 1 December 2002


Public sector reform has focussed attention on how different models of change can contribute to organizational metamorphosis. Traditional “top down” approaches are unlikely to achieve the necessary change. Instead, using a case study of an Irish public sector organization, this article argues that direct participation, involving frontline staff, can play a key role in ensuring acceptance of change and in creating the conditions for employees to make effective contributions to their organization. Direct participation plays a vital role in employee development. However, it also places demands on organizations to adopt a more facilitative and supportive style of management and to put in place mechanisms that will ensure that participation becomes an integral part of the work process.



O’Brien, G. (2002), "Participation as the key to successful change – a public sector case study", Leadership & Organization Development Journal, Vol. 23 No. 8, pp. 442-455.




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