The process of change in a public-private partnership : work and culture : a case study of Durham National Savings and Investments
Investments, a Civil Service department. Initially a Conservative policy, the PPP was reformulated by 'New' Labour whereby a 'partnership' between the public and private sectors is the favoured method of modernising public services. The study seeks to investigate the compatibility of a 'partnership' between two sectors which are fundamentally different, whereby a private sector 'partner' is attempting to make a profit out of a non-profit public sector financial institution. The process of organisational culture change is explored, as prior to the PPP a plethora of government directives were introduced at National Savings involving commercialisation and peripheral privatisation. The thesis attempts to understand the impact such initiatives have had on the lives of workers on the shop floor. Organised resistance from the trade unions and their members to these governmental directives are further examined. The research strategy involves semi-structured interviews with trade union officials and oral history interviews with workers - although management refused to participate in the research - together with various documentary sources. The thesis argues that the culmination of these changes has created a more pressurised and uncertain working environment, and those on shop intensification. The PPP marked the most profound changes with the end of the long-accepted 'job for life', as the creation of a multi-tier workforce, together with the insourcing, outsourcing and offshoring of work have left workers in precarious positions of employment. Yet there has been both formal and informal resistance to many of these directives, as organisational culture change is a complex and continually negotiated process, rather than smooth and unproblematic.