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Article
Publication date: 1 May 1991

Patrick Dawson and Margaret Patrickson

The need for a strategic shift in senior management philosophy which encourages and promotes a culture of total employee involvement towards the attainment of service…

Abstract

The need for a strategic shift in senior management philosophy which encourages and promotes a culture of total employee involvement towards the attainment of service quality is one of the major competitive challenges facing the Australian banking industry in the 1990s. Some of these issues are addressed through a case‐study analysis of the origin, rationale and implementation of a quality service programme in the State Bank of South Australia. In examining these changes a historical outline of the State Bank of South Australia and an account of the research methodology used in the study form the introduction. This is followed by an analysis of the design and development of a programme of change and an identification of the key factors shaping the implementation of total quality management. In conclusion an assessment of the opportunities and constraints for the successful implementation of service‐quality delivery programmes in the Australian banking industry is given.

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International Journal of Quality & Reliability Management, vol. 8 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0265-671X

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Article
Publication date: 1 February 1998

Patrick Dawson

New empirical research is presented on the human resource management implications of introducing a service excellence programme into an Australian optometry company. The…

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Abstract

New empirical research is presented on the human resource management implications of introducing a service excellence programme into an Australian optometry company. The case study is used to demonstrate the difficulties of changing employee behaviour and illustrates how the rhetorical hype behind the quality initiative has done little to improve employee relations at work. Company shifts between the “softer” and “harder” aspects of quality are also examined and the more recent market‐driven push for companies to comply with an expanding raft of bureaucratic procedures is questioned. The article concludes by calling for further critical research to offset the quality campaigns of vested interests which often mask the commercial downside associated with some elements of the “quality revolution”.

Details

Personnel Review, vol. 27 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0048-3486

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Article
Publication date: 11 August 2014

Patrick Dawson, Christopher Sykes, Peter McLean, Michael Zanko and Heather Marciano

The purpose of this paper is to examine the early stages of change and the way that stories can open up forms of collaborative dialogue and creative thinking among…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine the early stages of change and the way that stories can open up forms of collaborative dialogue and creative thinking among divergent stakeholders on known but “intractable” problems by enabling multiple voices to be heard in the co-construction of future possibilities for change. The empirical focus is on a project undertaken by two organizations located in Australia. The organizations – AAC, a large aged care provider and Southern Disability Services, a disability support service – collaborated with the researchers in identifying and re-characterizing the nature of the problem in the process of storying new pathways for tackling the transitioning needs of people with intellectual disabilities into aged care services.

Design/methodology/approach

An action research approach was used in conducting interviews in the case organizations to ascertain the key dimensions of the presenting problem and to identify change options, this was followed by an ethnographic study of a Pilot Project used to trial the provision of disability day service programmes within an aged care setting.

Findings

A key finding of the study centres on the importance of stories at the early stages of change in widening the arena of innovative opportunities, in facilitating collective acceptance of new ideas and in initiating action to resolve problems. The paper demonstrates how stories are used not only in retrospective sensemaking of existing problems but also in giving prospective sense to the possibilities for resolving protracted problems through innovative solutions that in turn facilitates a level of collective acceptance and commitment to opening up new pathways for change.

Originality/value

The paper focuses on problem characterization during the early stages of change and bring to the fore the often hidden notion of time in utilizing concepts from a range of literatures in examining temporality, stories and sensemaking in a context in which future possibilities are made sense of in the present through restorying experiences and events from the past. On a practical and policy front, the paper demonstrates the power of stories to mobilize commitment and action and presents material for rethinking change possibilities in the delivery of aged and disability care.

Details

Journal of Organizational Change Management, vol. 27 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0953-4814

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Article
Publication date: 12 August 2014

Patrick Dawson

The purpose of this paper is to explore time dilemmas in ethnographic research and develops a facilitating frame for thinking about temporality. Core concepts developed…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore time dilemmas in ethnographic research and develops a facilitating frame for thinking about temporality. Core concepts developed include: temporal awareness that refers to widening of the understanding and sensitivity to time issues; temporal practices which relate to how the researcher learns to deal with, for example, contradictory conceptions of time in the pragmatics of conducting fieldwork and in the analysis of competing data; and temporal merging which is used to refer to the interweaving of objective and subjective concepts of time, and to the way that the past and prospective futures shape human experience of the present.

Design/methodology/approach

An extended case study on workplace change is selectively drawn upon in discussing time and ethnographic research. Two closely related stories are used to illustrate aspects of temporality. These include a discussion of the way that stories in organizing, representing, simplifying and imposing structure (become theory-laden) often compressing the subjective experiences of lived time into a more formalized linear presentation that may inadvertently petrify temporal sensemaking; and an examination of how the polyphony of storying during times of change highlights temporal sensemaking and sensegiving through asynchronous features that emphasize volatility and non-linearity in explaining the way that people experience change.

Findings

The conundrum that competing concepts of time often present for the researcher is in the juxtapositions that generate loose ends that appear to require resolution. Temporal merging in being able to accommodate the intertwining of objective and subjective time, temporal practices in being able to use different concepts of time without trying to resolve them during the collection and analyses of data, and temporal awareness in being able to accept the paradox of time in the use of a relational-temporal perspective, all open up opportunities for greater insight and understanding in engaging in ethnographic studies on changing organizations.

Practical implications

There are a number of practical implications that arise from the paper in doing longitudinal research on workplace change. Four summarized here comprise: the significance of sustained fieldwork and not trying to shortcut time dimension to ethnographic research; the importance of developing temporal practices for dealing with objective and subjective time as well as the interweaving of temporal modes in data collection, analysis and write-up; the value of engaging with rather than resolving contradictions; chronological objective time is good for planning the research whilst subjective time is able to capture the non-linearity of lived time and the importance of context.

Originality/value

A new facilitating frame is developed for dealing with time tensions that are often downplayed in research through the concepts of temporal awareness, practices and merging. The frame provides temporal insight and promotes the use of a relational processual perspective. It is also shown how stories present in the data, in the writing up of material for different audiences, in chronologies and events, and in the sensemaking and sensegiving of individuals and groups as they describe and shape their lived experiences of change – are useful devices for dealing with the conundrum of time in ethnographic research.

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Journal of Organizational Ethnography, vol. 3 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2046-6749

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Article
Publication date: 1 July 2001

Patrick Dawson

Data drawn from a longitudinal case study of change is used to examine contextual factors in the conception, uptake and operation of manufacturing cells. Attention is…

Abstract

Data drawn from a longitudinal case study of change is used to examine contextual factors in the conception, uptake and operation of manufacturing cells. Attention is given to the external context of change and the importance of internal factors, such as the technical configuration of work, and the culture and history of plant operations, in shaping change outcomes. In charting a number of contextual dimensions, political process is also identified as a central element which overlaps and intertwines with context. Highlights how political process and context are important in shaping both the process of change (for example, local implementation strategy and employee responses to change) and change outcomes (for example, operating practices around the new cell arrangements).

Details

Integrated Manufacturing Systems, vol. 12 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0957-6061

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Article
Publication date: 1 May 1995

Patrick Dawson

Summarizes the main objectives of the Australian Best PracticeDemonstration Program and identifies a number of key human resource (HR)management issues. Argues that there…

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1953

Abstract

Summarizes the main objectives of the Australian Best Practice Demonstration Program and identifies a number of key human resource (HR) management issues. Argues that there has been a general shift in HR strategy away from the more adversarial, tightly controlled work regimes towards work structures which allow career development, skill enhancement and facilitate greater employee involvement. Examines some of these HR dimensions in an organizational setting – workplace restructuring at Mobil Adelaide Refinery. Presents a new approach to industrial relations which this company has developed: continual and open discussions between union delegates, employees and management to bring about new methods of work and pay agreements. Concludes with an overview of the process and outcomes of change and an appraisal of HR dimensions. Argues that it is only through consultative processes, which allow real gains for employees as well as management, that long‐term changes towards collaborative employee relations can be sustained.

Details

International Journal of Manpower, vol. 16 no. 5/6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0143-7720

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Article
Publication date: 1 December 1996

Patrick J. Dawson

Highlights the lack of comprehensive collections of Hispanic materials in the USA. Discusses how and why this situation should be remedied. Suggests suitable…

Abstract

Highlights the lack of comprehensive collections of Hispanic materials in the USA. Discusses how and why this situation should be remedied. Suggests suitable bibliographies as a starting point for collection building. Describes the assessment of a Hispanic American collection at the University of California, Irvine.

Details

Collection Building, vol. 15 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0160-4953

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Article
Publication date: 12 June 2007

Mohamed Osman Shereif Mahdi and Patrick Dawson

This article sets out to draw on new empirical research to illustrate how the process of technological change is shaped by a combination of contextual elements that relate…

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2670

Abstract

Purpose

This article sets out to draw on new empirical research to illustrate how the process of technological change is shaped by a combination of contextual elements that relate to the political and social history of Sudan. The developments in infrastructure, relationships with economically powerful industrialized countries, and the attitudes and perceptions of key decision makers are discussed

Design/methodology/approach

Primary data were collected from fieldwork conducted in Sudan for six months, and this was combined with secondary data that were collected from several conventional sources. The design adopted a dual methodological approach that comprised a combination of quantitative and qualitative techniques. This article draws mainly on the qualitative data set, although a summary is provided of some of the main results from the questionnaire survey.

Findings

The findings highlight the need for bank general managers and IT managers to collaborate in the establishment of IT strategies and in ensuring that there are sufficient staff and budgetary resources for successful implementation. There is also a need to develop comprehensive banking policies in Sudan in order to support the replacement of traditional manual methods of banking with more advanced computer‐based systems. Managing this process is not simply a technical issue, but a complex socio‐political challenge that requires management sensitivity to the context within which change is taking place.

Research limitations/implications

Fieldwork in Sudan was constrained by both time and limited financial resources, and further frustrated by a number of unanticipated access difficulties. Some of the survey findings may have been affected by missing data, and some of the interview data may have been affected by translation from Arabic into English. However, the multi‐strategy research employed in this study did prove effective in generating useful data.

Originality/value

In the case of developing countries, the data sets and literature available are in short supply, and as such the findings contribute to this limited knowledge base in presenting new empirical evidence and analysis. The study highlights the importance of three broad categories – social‐political context, business economic and technological environment, and the historical and cultural climate of Sudan and the banking industry – in shaping the uptake and introduction of new technology in the Sudanese banking industry.

Details

Information Technology & People, vol. 20 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0959-3845

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Article
Publication date: 1 October 1996

Patrick Dawson

Examines the experience of Australian industrial collaborative projects. Identifies some of the people and organizational issues which surround the design, development and…

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726

Abstract

Examines the experience of Australian industrial collaborative projects. Identifies some of the people and organizational issues which surround the design, development and application of advanced technology. Uses the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation’s Division of Manufacturing Technology, General Motors‐Holden’s Automotive Limited, James Hardie Irrigation and the Hoover Press Shop in Sydney to illustrate the political nature of collaborative projects and to highlight the processes involved in transferring research innovation into programmes of organizational change. Distils five key lessons from the case studies: first, that the design of appropriate technology is more effective when technical and organizational issues are developed and implemented together; second, that account should be taken of the number of geographical locations, size and complexity of proposed projects; third, that continuity of leadership and personnel is important; fourth, that funding arrangements should be clarified from the outset and short‐term budget justifications minimized; and fifth, that industrial collaborations require continual interpersonal effort and open communication.

Details

Integrated Manufacturing Systems, vol. 7 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0957-6061

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Article
Publication date: 26 June 2007

Rosemary Skordoulis and Patrick Dawson

The purpose of this paper is to show that too often decisions concerning change are made on the basis of partial understanding, limited data and unreflective assumptions…

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2605

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to show that too often decisions concerning change are made on the basis of partial understanding, limited data and unreflective assumptions about people and organizations. In the discussion of the Socratic dialogue the aim is to uncover a useful method for ensuring more reflective decision making that involves active participation of employees on the receiving end of change.

Design/methodology/approach

Although dialogue is used in management processes today, it is contended that the Socratic dialogue is particularly useful in making sense of complex change processes. Data drawn from research conducted in two UK higher education institutions are used to illustrate how lack of knowledge and understanding often pervades and constrains change, and how techniques of Socratic dialogue can be used to secure higher levels of employee involvement and commitment to change.

Findings

It is argued that Socratic dialogue can be used as a practical tool to facilitate “participative” change and contend that further research is required to develop the use of this method as a qualitative research instrument for uncovering data on processes of change in organizations.

Originality/value

If practised consistently by organizational members, the Socratic techniques can lead to a more concrete understanding of the complexities of changing organizations. It is a collective process of change through critical questioning and, as such, it lends itself to further exploration on the part of both change managers and qualitative researchers for its uses as a diagnostic and research instrument.

Details

Management Decision, vol. 45 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0025-1747

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