Change management in local government : strategic change agents and organisational ownership.
This thesis analyses strategic change management in English local
government and suggests the most appropriate leadership and management
approaches for achieving successful organisational change.
Using a model of organic evolution, the research identifies and analyses
three distinctive stages in the development of management systems and
practices in local government. These stages can be identified as: traditional,
corporate and strategic approaches. A sample of eight local authorities
representing two from each of the major English authority types was selected.
Extensive qualitative research enabled the classification of the authorities
using the following typology: namely transactional, community leadership and
business culture. Each type is representative of one of the three evolutionary
With reference to each of the identified three stages of evolutionary
development, the role of the chief executive in each of the authorities in
successfully managing change was assessed. The purpose is to establish
which management type provided the most effective change management
environment. This assessment took place on two levels.
Firstly, the qualitative research addressed the perceptions of the chief
executives' change management agenda on the part of the strategic actors on
both sides of the managerial/political interface within each authority. They
were identified as the chief executive, the chief officers and the leading
elected members. These perceptions were then used to develop the
management typology noted above.
Following the development of the management typology, an extensive survey
of the attitudes of both middle managers and street-level operatives towards
the change management process was conducted in the eight local
authorities. This quantitative research revealed the perceptions of those
individuals on whom change has the greatest impact.
Following the analysis of the data generated by both the qualitative and
quantitative research, the most effective leadership and change management
strategies for local government in England are suggested. The conclusion is
therefore that the most effective model for change management for local
government is a hybrid organisation combining strengths from two of the
evolutionary management stages.