Talking the Talk or Walking the Walk? The Leadership of Planned and Emergent Change in a Public Organization

  • van der Voet J
  • Groeneveld S
  • Kuipers B
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Abstract

The implementation of public management reform may entail radical change for public sector organizations, as it implies changes in the values of the organization. Although such organizational changes are widespread and prevalent in the public sector, the processes through which such changes take place are largely overlooked in the public management literature. By means of an embedded, comparative case study, the authors analyse both planned and emergent processes of change. Their analysis indicates that changes come about through careful reinterpretation and reframing of organizational commitments, rather than replacement of the old by the new values. Moreover, there are important differences in the leadership activities in planned and emergent processes of organizational change. They highlight the need for an increased understanding of the role of leadership in emergent processes of change. In order to successfully change public organizations, they find that the approach to change and corresponding leadership activities should be congruent with the content of the desired organizational change. Managers must dare to go beyond talking the talk and start walking the walk. [ABSTRACT FROM PUBLISHER]

Author-supplied keywords

  • Leadership
  • emergent change
  • planned change
  • public management reform
  • public sector organizations

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Authors

  • Joris van der Voet

  • Sandra Groeneveld

  • Ben S. Kuipers

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