Planned organizational change management involves a premeditated method of transforming or reforming organizations using appropriate and fitting approach. It involves the managerial and behavioral adjustments that need to be laid down to allow and sustain change. Change being inevitable for any organization, it is important for managers to have knowledge in organizational change in order to lead successful reforms. There are two sources of change that include external environment such as political, technological, social, economic pressures. Secondly, changes can originate internally within the organization as a reaction to client needs, mediocre performance, changes in cost of business and other internal dynamics. Such changes necessitate for implementation of new approaches, practices, policies or even new processes. This paper will discuss four articles relating change management in the public sector.
An outlook that the public organizations are not obliged to ensure improvement in shareholder value has been deceptive. Taxpayers expect maximization on the use of public resources. Due to the traditional outlook of the public sector, there is scarcity of literature of organizational change in the public sector. Publications of public administration have one-dimensional and contextualized models of managing change in public organizations. However, people are beginning to realize that public organizations should operate with similar models of organizational change applied in the private sector (Robertson and Seneviratne 547). According to Robertson and Seneviratne, organizational development in a public firm may be difficult due to bureaucratic and political influences.
Robertson and Seneviratne carried out a meta-analytic study to compare the efficacy of organizational development in public and private organizations. In the study, the two formed a model of four interconnected elements of an organizational setting. They include social elements, technology, physical setting and organizational structure (550). Individual behavior change was acknowledged to be determined by influences of work setting, organizational outcomes and individual outcomes. Thus, the comparison of efficacy of implementing change in public versus private organizations was based on the seven elements that formed the dependent variables. From the meta-analytic results, it was evident that planned change as applied in organizational development was as effective in the public sector as in private organizations. However change in technology, organizations arrangements and physical settings were challenging in the public sector. The findings could have reinforced the lack of independence or discretion that managers have in the public sector as compared to private organizations. Also, political and bureaucratic could have been impediments in the public organizations (555).
A new paradigm in public organizations management known as New Public Management (NPM) is changing the outlook of a public organization. It is essential that public sector organizations serve the public with consideration of efficiency and performance. In an article by Thomas Diefenbach, the ideology of NPM is to make the public sector organizations work like the private sector, in a business-like process. Inefficiencies in the traditional public administration are expected to be eliminated, and lead to an improved performance of public organizations (Diefenbach 892). In management of public organizations, NPM concept proposes that service delivery to the public can be efficient when management is separated from public administration Under NPM, public organizations should have three strategic business objectives. First, a market-orientation that creates value of the public resources. Secondly, strategies that considers external stakeholders and policies. Thirdly, the organizations should focus on customer service
Under the NPM system, change management can apply the models used in private sector management or organizational change literature. In the public sector, response to change can occur through creation of new policies and legislation. Therefore, managers of the public sectors may require a lot of time for change to be implemented or even to be accepted. It requires political and social support and hence a communication of the cause of urgency to change. According to Fernadez and Rainey (169) spreading the vision to all the stakeholders and convincing them of the benefit of the change is critical. Political arenas form the best forums to communicating the importance of change in a public organization. Besides, use of mass media to discuss and share information on the strategy can aid in ensuring all stakeholders are convinced.
Citizen participation has always been cited as important because it makes a process of change to be democratic. A liberal community has led to an enthusiastic customer of the public sector (Diefenbach 892). Therefore, managers in the public sector have to communicate the need to change and the proposed plan in an engaging and convincing manner. Thus, political tactics can be hardy to ensure that stakeholders do not as if the change has been imposed (Fernadez and Rainey 170). In order to communicate and cause enthusiasm to change being critical of the existing status of affairs can be important so that the strategy can be accepted. It calls also for a clear vision should be outlined, and be properly presented. According to Kurt Lewin’ classic three-phase model of change proper communication unfreezes people and creates the desire to change. Stakeholders opinions are important because they can assist in planning and risk management. Once the plan is set, the responsibilities of each member should be communicated to avoid collisions in performance of tasks.
A clear strategy acts as a guide to the direction an organization will follow in achieving the goals as well as planning for risks and mitigation arrangements. Thus, objectives must be set together with explicit procedures of achieving them. In the public sector, a change management can involve new guidelines on how to deliver services. Besides, it is vital that before a policy is enacted, thorough evaluations are carried out to ensure that an effective strategy receives support. According to Ashworth, Boyne & Rick, there are two methods used in strategy formulation. One of them is developing strategy through a logical process by carrying out research. It involves studying the external and internal environment and eventually deciding on the finest policy. Setting clear objectives and monitoring the performance through data forms the process in managing change. Alternatively, strategy can be formulated through political bargaining with all stakeholders and implementing the policy with greatest support (173).
Fears of job loss, lack of understanding the need to change and other fears lead to resistance to change. Involving stakeholders in organizational change early enough can prepare them psychologically to minimize the shock and even create support and trust among the subordinates. Such approach of making the employees participate in the change process reduces resistance. Additionally, it causes people to embrace change by promoting ownership of the reforms and a good rapport. Further, it is easier to get feedback due to freedom of communication. On the other hand, coercion, force and disparagement cause inherent rebellion. Involving junior managers and supervisors ensures a bottom-up approach in participation can also aid in minimizing resistance. Since politics surround decisions in the public sector, gaining political support is vital in decreasing resistance. It is through political support that necessary legal changes are created and resources allocated to implement change. For this reason, managers of public organizations must seek political administrator and external support (Fernadez and Rainey 171).
Support and commitment from top management has also been attributed to success in managing change. They have power to influence and marshal resources and nearly all people due to the greatest responsibility they carry for the whole organization (Fernadez and Rainey 171). Transformational leaders carry the vision of organizations. In a top-down approach, such leaders can inspire and empower workers and help in changing the culture of an organization. Having positive relations with juniors ensures that change is easily adopted. On top of leaders having freedom to direct resources to the projects they choose. It is also common for people to relate change to the initiator and also the connection that leaders have with subordinates. It minimizes resistance and reduces internal politics when such a leader has many followers in the organization. Therefore, top managers such as CEOs should assist in getting closer to the subordinates. They have more authority, power and even external connections and information. Even so, from all management levels, there should be unity of purpose and shared attitudes on the need to reform.
Organizational change can require additional funding. When reforms need more resources to implement, they should be sought before starting the initial process (Fernadez and Rainey (172). Implementation can fail in the process due to lack of sustainable resources. For instance, a change that requires sensitization can be requiring advertising or even training of workers. Some projects require hefty funding for example expansion plans. It is essential that funds are available to avoid curtailing the execution process. Moreover, synergies are important when multiple changes are being executed and resources are required. Workers or stakeholders stress can collapse a project when wages are not paid.
Change must be pursued lengthily, and it implies that reforms occur across the organization subsystems. Some changes occur as a result of reaction to external factors. Thus, it is important for changes to be holistic with consideration of organizational culture. Culture was defined by Barney in 1986 as “values shared by the members of an organization including beliefs about organizational purposes and how they should be achieved” (Ashworth et al. 172). In order to achieve comprehensive reform, a systematic approach is important. Change in some subsystems can lead to conflicts unless it was intended to be partial. In order to allow change to kick-off, it is advisable to have a systematic approach that covers all areas. It can be costly and ineffective to initiate changes in subsystems. Proper connections on how subsystems work for the whole need to be understood so that no conflicting or negative effects are created by impartial implementations.
Culture and the climate of organizations in the public sector need to be changed according the NPM management style. According to Diefenbach (892), NPM approach recommends more communication, monitoring and regular administration. Employees can view change as insincerity in the public sector due to political attitudes. Therefore culture change and organizational climate require to be changed too. Introduction of more vigilant management can be demoralizing to public sector workers. As such policies require to be enacted to be followed. Also, introduction of performance appraisals or other measures of performance is necessary. Leaders need to be more involved to motivate workers as well as offer more guidance on new approach of work.
With the New Public Management approach to public sector management, public sector management is adopting organizational change from the private sector. Managing change involves managing people who are to carry out the change. People are the pillars of change and handling them carefully determines how smoothly change will occur. In organizational management, Kotter’s eight step model of change promotes the need to communicate and influence change to all stakeholders. The model focuses on preparing people for the change and has can fit to the public sector due to its top-down approach. It also fits into the culture of hierarchies. Failure to inform people adequately can increase resistance and lack of engagement in a project. On the other hand, leaders of change are the managers and should ensure that they understand the process in order to create effective strategies. In a world of constant changes, it is inevitable for public sector to remain with traditional approach to their work. The liberty of the modern customer calls for improved customer service. Privatization of public companies has led to competition between private and public service providers. The challenges of bureaucracy and politics are difficult to eliminate in a public organization. Therefore, a difference exists in management style but change in management style of public calls for political support. Researchers in the public sector need to identify the differences in organizational change for private and public sector. Such information can aid in creating custom methods for managing change in an organization prone to political pressures.
Ashworth, Rachel., Boyne, George., and Delbridge, Rick. “Escape from the iron cage? Organizational change and isomorphic pressures in the public sector.” Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory 19.1 (2009): 165-187.
Diefenbach, Thomas. “New Public Management In Public Sector Organizations: The Dark Sides Of Managerialistic ‘Enlightenment’.” Public Administration 87.4 (2009): 892-909. Political Science Complete. Web. 6 Mar. 2016
Fernandez, Sergio, and Hal G. Rainey. “Managing successful organizational change in the public sector.” Public administration review 66.2 (2006): 168-176.
Robertson, Peter J., and Seneviratne, Sonal J. “Outcomes of Planned Organizational Change in the Public Sector: A Meta-analytic Comparison to the Private Sector”. Public Administration Review 55.6 (1995): 547–558. Web…