Centralisering af økonomifunktionen: En organisationsændring set fra et multi-ramme perspektiv

Mads Toftegaard Madsen

Student thesis: Master executive thesis


January 2014 an organizational change is implemented in Fredensborg Kommune. Eight economic consultants who have so far been employed in the social department, the school department etc. are moved to the central economic department. The aim of the centralization, as stated in a strategic paper from the board of directors, is to strengthen coordination and improve economic steering. The question asked in this paper is how this organizational change can be successfully implemented and what personal leadership actions will be required to support the desired change. The aim of the paper is to build a strategic action plan for the implementation of the desired organizational change. The centralization is not unique for Fredensborg Kommune, but follows a widespread tendency in central and local governments. The centralization is seen as part of the answer to the problems of coordination following the last decades entry of New Public Management in the public sector. Thus other organizations have experiences that might enlighten the required management actions. Empirically the study is based on qualitative interviews in neighboring local governments who have implemented a more or less similar organizational centralization within the last few years. The analysis of the empirical data is based on organization theory, namely Bolman and Deals four frames: Structural, HR, Political and Symbolic. The analysis reveals – not surprisingly – that changes within the structural frame will not by itself lead to the wanted results. A successful implementation of the organizational change will demand more comprehensive leadership actions. Within the human research frame, management has to empower and provide support to the employees of the economic department and to build relations with management colleagues in the organization. Within the political frame there is evidence that conflicts can be minimized with transparent and well defined structural rules and processes. Drawing on Edgar Schein’s modernist theory of organizational culture and leadership, it is exposed, that the organizational centralization by itself only touches upon the tangible, overt manifestations of culture. Thus leadership attention must also be drawn to the exposed beliefs, values and norms of the organization – leadership actions within Bolman and Deal’s symbolic frame. Schein points to, that a planned cultural change can be stimulated if the existing culture is upset. The organizational centralization is by itself challenging the present culture and to enhance this pressure, the economic department is reorganized, aligning it with the broader organizational goals. The study identifies three values deemed to be essential for a shift in organizational culture: Trust, justice and honesty. Values, that lies within the boundaries of the organizations existing values. As opposed to the visible strategies in neighboring organizations, the strategic leadership initiatives to implement the organizational change will be guided by these values. This strategic approach will thus distinguish itself from the typically positivistic thinking of many economists. Based on the analysis of the empirical data, an action plan is set up for the implementation of the new organization. The action plan targets the process up to and immediate after the new organization takes effect and defines the structural settings such as internal organization, processes and meeting structures. But most importantly the action plan directly addresses the requests to personal leadership of the head of the economic department (CFO) if the identified values are to be guiding cooperative interactions in the organization going forward. This includes a consistent communication to management colleagues, to the board of directors and to the political elected. The CFO has to walk the talk. In an organization, where the economic consultants will be physically situated several days a week in the departments they service, it is essential that they are competent to support the wanted culture. If they are to successfully take up this personal leadership role it is required that they fully understand the values and goals of the organization. The action plan therefore includes initiatives to anchor these values and goals with employees. The study has been limited to the organization of the economic department and the interactions with the surrounding organization and has taken a predominantly modernist view. It is not given that the recommended action plan will succeed in creating the wanted cultural change. Thus further research could focus on an organization with static subcultures and how to reach an optimal economic steering under these conditions. A social constructivist paradigm could possible shed a different light on the issue.

EducationsMaster of Public Governance, (Executive Master Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2013
Number of pages54