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Implementing change in a public agency: Leadership, learning and organisational resilience

Jenny Stewart (School of Business and Government, Division of Business, Law and Information Science, University of Canberra, Canberra, Australia)
Michael O'Donnell (School of Management, Marketing and International Business, College of Business and Economics, Australian National University, Canberra, Australia)

International Journal of Public Sector Management

ISSN: 0951-3558

Article publication date: 10 April 2007




The article aims to investigate implementation problems arising from the introduction of a new computer system in a public agency.


Two analytical lenses were employed: a prescriptive model of technology‐based implementation and planned and emergent models of change.


Unintended consequences tested the organisation's resilience. It was found that those parts of the organisation with enhanced resilience exhibited localised leadership.

Practical implications

Successful implementation of change involving new technology requires a balance between “top‐down” planning and distributed leadership. Adequate attention to organisational learning is also a significant factor.


Implementation involving new computer systems is a commonly‐encountered problem in the public sector, yet there are few empirically‐based studies that deal with organisational and management issues in this context.



Stewart, J. and O'Donnell, M. (2007), "Implementing change in a public agency: Leadership, learning and organisational resilience", International Journal of Public Sector Management, Vol. 20 No. 3, pp. 239-251.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2007, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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