As managers throughout the UK's public sector face up to the challenge of change, how will they respond? If they default to established practice, largely imported over the past 30 years from the private sector, they are likely to place most emphasis on changing the formal processes, systems and structures of their various institutions, and on getting these ‘right’ through rational analysis, project management techniques, detailed implementation programmes and other ‘tools of the trade’. But organisations are made up of dynamic networks of people interacting with each other. And people have a habit of not conforming to the mechanistic assumptions that still channel much of mainstream management thinking about organisational change and performance. Ever‐present features of organisational life ‐ such as power and politics, informal processes, tensions and contradictions, and other aspects of the complex social dynamics of organisations ‐ tend to be dealt with superficially or ignored altogether. Research consistently suggests that, despite the plethora of tools and techniques, the success rate of organisational change is poor. This paper argues that this is due, in large part, to the failure of conventional management practice to take account of the inherent messiness of ‘real‐world’ organisations. And it suggests an alternative change‐leadership agenda that seeks to address this.
Rodgers, C. (2010), "Coalitions, conversations and complexity ‐ the challenge of change in the public sector", International Journal of Leadership in Public Services, Vol. 6 No. 4, pp. 31-37. https://doi.org/10.5042/ijlps.2010.0635Download as .RIS
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