Strategic Change in Government Based on Organization Hierarchy
The literature supports the position that there should be a relationship between the structure and organization change. This study was undertaken to determine how different organization roles, hierarchy, and sizes affect planned strategic change. A survey instrument was administered to top federal government agency leadership to assess change in their organization. The intention is to draw common relationships between organization change and specific categories or sizes of organizations.
Role of Change
Business strategy and structure have always been related. Organizational change involves innovation, process improvement, and organizational redesign (Galbraith and Lawler, 1993). They also noted that the hierarchical structure is related to changes in speed, quality and productivity. In recent years, the pace of change has accelerated so drastically that most organizational structures and management principles have no hope of adjusting or adapting (Hammer and Champy, 1993). Today’s changes are discontinuous and happening at a geometric rate. Organizations must be sufficiently agile to be instantly reconfigurable to meet new demands (Tetenbaum, 1998).
Change efforts involve attempting to reduce discrepancies between the real and the ideal (Hersey and Blanchard, 1993). The change could be a first order change that occurs in a stable system that itself remains unchanged. It could be a second order change when fundamental properties of the system are changed such as the fall of communism (Hersey and Blanchard, 1993). Evolutionary changes are gradual and tend to be first order while revolutionary changes are second order. Both of these events could be driving the changes described in this study.
Some changes are limited and incremental in nature. Strategic, system wide changes implemented under crisis conditions are highly risky. Nadler and Tushman (1990) found that all strategic organizational changes initiated under crisis conditions with short time constraints were by far the riskiest. Such changes usually require a change in core values. Some recent trends that have generally lead to significant changes in corporate culture are reengineering, shift to horizontal forms of organizing, total quality management (Daft, 1998). These should not negate the importance of the vision statement as these are tools to assist in bringing about the change.
Some organizations are more able to change than others. Nutt and Backoff, (1992, p. 112) explain that some types of public organizations that can control change and other types that cannot easily control change. Professional agencies such as the IRS and FBI have considerable prerogative to act in a prescribed arena and have a protected budget. Political agencies, such as the State Department, have high control over their actions and may have legislation to protect it....