Public sector change management – destined to failure?

Change Management process ITIL
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When you’re in need of organisational change, be it for better service delivery, increased customer satisfaction, or simply for cost saving considerations, why does it often fail?

There is a common propensity within British business and organisational management (and probably many other areas of world commercialism) for what can only be described as nepotism. Both our industry, and the public sector service sector agencies, constantly promote like-minded people with similar skill sets to executive positions.

A colleague of mine refers to it as the “mirror type” promotion concept. In essence, it preserves the status quo, therefore easing the ‘leaders’ path to whatever personal agenda they may be following.

Some ‘leaders’ in my previous occupation (the police) often suggested that  I (and others like me) are the ones who are against change or, because we never attained superior levels of experience, that we had insufficient knowledge to suggest ‘valid’ change. Although somewhat pompous and insulting, I can now also see it as comical. Isn’t it the same senior management people who are the ones actually creating barriers to change?

In a police related forum that I am party to, there has been heated discussion about how the service is often inept and lacking in the ability to efectivley engage with the public. Perhaps there is a parallel to be drawn here? Isn’t this the same skill gap which often prevents the leadership from endearing themselves to a fully engaged workforce? Managers who are also sometimes a little too distant from the day-to-day operational realities. Put all these factors together and we see the negative impacts upon change.

I would therefore ask; shouldn’t we see the hierarchy of the organisation (in this case the police) as being the barrier to effective and unrestrictive change management and not the workforce? Always assuming there was a need for ‘their’ view of change in the first place?

4 thoughts on “Public sector change management – destined to failure?

  1. There was a classic advert with Ronnie Barker singing the praises of the man he was about to appoint to the team. This was, of course, Ronnie Barker. Walkers’ Crisps had decent adverts back then, before going for former soccer players.
    This particular administrative vice has been reinforced in HRM by competence-based recruitment practices – which are, of course, totally incompetent. I believe these farces are responsible for a lot of our decline.


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