Top Down Organizational Change in an Australian Agency

Ryan, Neal F., Williams, Trevor A., Charles, Michael B., & Waterhouse, Jennifer Marie (2008) Top Down Organizational Change in an Australian Agency. International Journal of Public Sector Management, 21(1), pp. 26-44.

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Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to assist public sector organizations to carry out better change management strategies and thus achieve better change processes and also to provide a critique of top-down change strategies, especially when employed by public sector agencies. Furthermore, the paper uses the case of one such public sector organization to highlight the need to complement top-down change strategies with other approaches.

Design/methodology/approach – The paper used a three-year longitudinal case study approach to ascertain the efficacy of top-down change in a large public sector organization. Data were collected by means of a series of employee focus groups and interviews with key management personnel. This was supplemented by organizational communication outputs.

Findings – The paper finds that a top-down change strategy needs to be coupled with other change strategies for change to become successfully embedded in the organization. Organizational factors and processes can limit the effectiveness of communicating top-down change and prevent information from filtering through the organization in the expected way.

Practical implications – The paper shows that genuine consultation and meaningful two-way communication must be established for top-down change strategies to function effectively together with other techniques.

Originality/value – The paper complements previous literature on top-down change and corroborates earlier findings. In addition, it highlights the vital importance of middle managers in communicating organizational change and the need to establish a genuine two-way communication flow.

Impact and interest:

12 citations in Scopus
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ID Code: 15134
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Additional Information: For more information, please refer to the journal's website (see hypertext link) or contact the author.
Keywords: Change Management, Transformational Leadership, Communication, Australia
DOI: 10.1108/09513550810846096
ISSN: 0951-3558
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > COMMERCE MANAGEMENT TOURISM AND SERVICES (150000) > BUSINESS AND MANAGEMENT (150300) > Organisational Planning and Management (150312)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY (160000) > POLICY AND ADMINISTRATION (160500) > Public Administration (160509)
Divisions: Current > Research Centres > Australian Centre for Business Research
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > QUT Business School
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2008 Emerald
Deposited On: 14 Oct 2008 00:00
Last Modified: 20 Mar 2015 05:57

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