An Essay on Project Management in Organisational Change: "Feelings are the Motive Power, Reason is the Rudder"

Jens Carl Ry Nielsen, Morten Ry

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Abstract

In this essay we will demonstrate that the role of project management in organisational changeprocesses is a mixture of rational and non-rational features. It is also colourful, difficult, interesting,and messy.We have named the paper `An Essay on'. An essay means treating a topic freely from differentangles, although not forgetting the sources you used. The implication of this is that we are not ableor willing to make an encompassing study of the literature on project management3. We thus knowthat many angles will not be covered. Furthermore we do not intend a make a negative delineation,indicating what we are not dealing with. We prefer to make a positive delineation, emphasisingwhat we are going to take up in our essay.Positively phrased we are inspired by 3 sources that will make the foundation for our differentangles:1. Decision making theory (Enderud,1976)4. One of the authors has previously with successapplied decision-making theory as an approach for analysing organisation change processes5. Both authors have followed the same line in analysing organisational changes inthe Danish public sector6. That success has inspired us to re-use the distinction betweenrational, political and anarchic processes in this essay 7. Enderud (1976:21-22) excludesexplicitly the role of the actors' participation in his presentation of decision models. Wefind, however this aspect so important that we have decided to include it2. Buchanan and Boddy´s analysis of the character of change8: The authors characterise thechange project in to dimensions. One pertains to the activities concerned: Are we dealingwith peripheral or core activities of the organisation. The second dimension deals with themagnitude of the change. Buchanan and Boddy use the scale: incremental - radical9.Furthermore Buchanan and Boddy makes a useful distinction between `publicperformance' (on stage) of rationally considered and logically phased and visiblyparticipative change and `backstage activity' in the recruitment and maintenance of supportand in seeking and blocking resistance (ibid p.27)3. We will apply data from our own case studies. We will use a format that we call anillustration, thereby indicating that we `only' illustrate a point. We do not prove it10. Ourcases are almost all from the public sector or from trade unions. Most of them have beenpublished elsewhere.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationKøbenhavn
Number of pages22
Publication statusPublished - 2003

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