IMPLEMENTING MANAGEMENT CHANGE: LEADING and FOLLOWING

I. INTRODUCTION

“There’s no such permanent thing in this world except change.”

            As management is working with and through people to attain the desired goals and objectives, cooperation between the leader and his followers is absolutely necessary to realize such management change, that is, for the better. Leading and following are inseparable. For it seems to be a futile exercise to lead if no one will follow. And though there are followers that have nothing to follow, are compared to people who are grooming in the dark. Thus in implementing management change, these two factors should be taken into consideration. And cooperation implies destructive and constructive criticisms on the part of the governed people. However, these criticisms are necessary to identify the factors that could make and unmake the attainment of total management change.

II. SUMMARY OF THE TOPIC/ISSUE

Margaret Thatcher emphasizes changing the culture of public organization in the new dominance in government during her administration. Traditional preoccupation of the public sector with accountability to politicians, together with its traditional concern to maintain propriety and rectitude within the public service to ensure the equitable treatment of citizens, has been displaced. The pursuit of value for money through increasing the organization’s Three E’s – economy, efficiency, and effectiveness, the That government has revived interests in two ideas which were first developed in the report of Fulton Committee on the Civil Service. The said committee criticized senior civil servants for paying too little attention to the management of people who serve beneath them because of their preoccupation with advising ministers about policy. Among the reforms recommended were, the introduction of accountable management, whereby managers would be responsible for the efficient use of the resources entrusted to them, and “hiving off.”  This entailed delegating blocks of work to autonomous agencies, where public boards under the overall control of small central departments provide most public services. This concept has been carried further to establish department agencies to carry out the bulk of government’s works that would include all its executive functions, may be delegated to such agencies.

            Thatcher has shown a considerable prediction for using a small number of trusted advisers to develop ways to push her government’s ideals through into public policies, and to change the managerial culture. Lord Rayner, one of the advisers, launched the first stage of the government’s drive for efficiency with introduction of Efficiency Scrutinies to detect and reduce waste in management. Sir Roy Griffiths recommended the establishment of general managers at the regional, district, and unit levels. Sir Robin Ibbs generated the proposal for departmental agencies. People have criticized his proposal entitled “Efficiency in Government,” Accordingly, such opposition was based on the fear that any devolution was bound to dilute, or even destroy, tight central control. The proposal focused on a relatively narrow range of management issues; the preoccupation of senior civil servants with giving policy advice to ministers rather than with management; relatively few pressures demanding improvements in performance; and asserted that Civil Service is too large and too varied in its functions to manage as a single entity.  In consequence, the report recommends the establishment of departmental agencies to carry out the executive functions of government within a policy and resources framework set by a department. However, the implementation of such policies and resources frameworks may be problematical in itself. Decentralization must be protected in the interest of safeguarding the effectiveness of the agency. The benefits of giving more independence to management in getting better performance may not emerge. Thus, a considerable investment in management training would be needed. And LEADERSHIP is regarded as essential in implementing the proposal successfully. So, recommendation of a full permanent secretary should be designated as “Project Manager’ to ensure that change will takes place. This recommendation was quickly accepted. In addition, each agency will itself be led by a chief executive officer with overall responsibility for his/her agency’s management to achieve the best possible results within it and must be accountable in doing so. A chain of managerial command is thus built up, but its members must have substantial discretion if the scheme is to encourage enterprise, initiative and risk-taking. The project manager in the cabinet office has overall responsibility for implementing the proposals; the departmental ministers and their permanent secretaries are to define the policy and resource frameworks within which the agencies are to operate; and the chief executives are to be responsible in securing the best possible performance by their agencies. However, lack of consultation should surprise no one in the light of Margaret Thatcher’s rejection of working methods of tripatism.

            Speed, with restricted consultation, has meant that a large number of issues have been neglected. Although accountability to Parliament is discussed, only the formal procedures are laid down. There is no consideration as to how, for instance, relations between chief executives and departmental select committees might develop. It has also been suggested that some agencies might eventually be privatized; and that some chief executives might be appointed from outside the Civil Service. On the other hand, the dangers that might pose possibly corrupt links developing between the public and private sectors are not recognized. If agencies are offered for sale on unduly favorable terms, or if chief executives are recruited from the private sector without passing through Civil Service Commission’s recruitment procedures, traditional means of ensuring that public resources are properly disposed of, and that appointments are made solely on the basis of merit, will be bypassed. In this regard, the tendency of the Thatcher’s Government to make appointments without going through the commission for instance has aroused serious concern.

            A second pressure towards management change has resulted from the increasing recognition among politicians and public servants alike, particularly in local authorities, that Mrs. Thatcher’s election victories resulted from a triumph of the policies developed by the “New Right” over those of the post-war consensus and those of the left. Under the post-war consensus, the value of public services was accepted relatively uncritically but for several reasons, both the consensus and popular support for public services gave way to a renewed debate about what sort of society after a decade. Popular support for public services declined considerably, permitting the “New Right’s” arguments in favor of deregulation and privatization to prevail. Public disappointment set in, partly because despite massive public spending and employment, at times absorbing more than half of Gross National Product, public services came to be widely regarded as inefficient, patronizing, and ineffectual. Long waiting lists for many treatments under the National Health Service and for council houses, social workers failure to avert child abuse and other tragedies, coupled with alienation from the bureaucratic paternalism” perceived in many public servants by citizens, has reduced public support for those services. This loss of support was accelerated by a wave of public sector strikes, which damaged the public’s belief in the dedication and responsibility of public service workers. Public Disillusionment with public services has produced two kinds of response. The first is that of the “New Right enlightenment;” to privatized, deregulate or otherwise expose to market forces as much as possible of the public sector, in the hope of transforming an expensive, inefficient, insensitive bureaucracy into a leaner, fitter organization. This approach seeks to challenge the very notion of collective and non-market provision of public need. The alternative is to try and render public services or non-market provision more acceptable to citizens, and thereby, win back their loss of allegiance to the service-providing machinery of the state. Attempts to do this have included developing consumer research, designed to discover the public’s knowledge of, and attitudes to, public services, with a view to meeting their needs more effectively, as well as, decentralizing service provision in order to make it more accessible to citizens, more responsive to their needs and demands.

            The balance between centralization and decentralization in government in implementing management change, arose from very different motives: the wish to make local government services more “user-friendly” by providing them from decentralized neighborhood offices, instead of centrally in the civic center, or from a few district offices covering relatively large areas and populations. This reform is concern with increasing public contact with, and involvement in, public service, hence, increasing their support for them. “Going Local” has been associated chiefly with the Labor Party, although the Democrats have also introduced decentralization schemes in some of the local authorities they control. The conservatives however, tend to be less sympathetical to it, for two main reasons. First, they object to the extra costs involved in establishing and maintaining decentralized offices. In addition, “Going Local” tends to be associated with the “New Urban Left, whose activities have aroused great hostility among conservatives from the Prime Minister down. However, conservative councilors have sometimes co-operated in establishing decentralization schemes or they have retained them if they have proven to popular once established.

            The decentralization initiatives are broadly of three kinds as to wit: Departmental, Corporate, and Political Decentralization. Departmental decentralization refers to which a single department devolves its service provision to neighborhood offices or teams, each covering a small area and population. Corporate decentralization involves creating similar neighborhood offices, but staffed from a range of departments. A wide range of advice and services can therefore be provided at a location close to the citizens whom the local authority exists to serve. Political decentralization, on the other hand, refers to which the neighborhood offices are supervised and perhaps partially controlled by local committees made up of ward councilors, community leaders and perhaps representatives of ethnic or other minority groups.

            Although the benefits of these decentralization schemes, seems to be fairly evident, their introduction meets resistance from several quarters. First, councilors may be unwilling to take up their constituents’ complaints with local officers instead of writing to the departmental chief officer at the civic center or county hall. This behavior is likely to reduce the effectiveness of the decentralization scheme for it will lead to excessive managerial intervention in the activities of the neighborhood offices. Secondly, trade unions tend to be wary of the changes in the location of their members and in the conditions of work entailed by “Going Local.” The fear that the neighborhood offices would be places where local people would be noisy and nosey. Generally, local authority managers have had to recognize that such changes should be made only after extensive consultation with staff and unions. The more sources of resistance come from within the authority’s own management structure. The first is middle managers, which may render decentralization fruitless if they insist on supervising the work of their subordinates in the neighborhood offices “too closely.” Lastly, senior managers and leading politicians at the center may give insufficient attention to the needs and request source of complaints.

III. REACTION/CRITIQUE

Implementing Decentralized Management is an obstruction from people and groups further down the organization’s hierarchy who do not agree with their leader’s judgment that the balance between centralization and decentralization ought to change. Middle managers are almost bound to loss both oppose their establishment, and restrict their discretion. Middle managers are the most certain losers from decentralization. They are therefore likely both resist its introduction and frustrate its effective operation, unless they are retained and persuaded to accept it.

            On the other hand, “street-level bureaucrats favors decentralization without any resistance. The danger however, of the absence of resistance is that, an ill-considered scheme may be implemented, whose dangers and deficiencies will become apparent only later. Deregulation and privatization are also underscored to promote efficiency and effectiveness in the government. Efficiency is the ability “to do things right.” It is an “input-output” concept. Effectiveness, on the other hand, is the ability “to do the rights.” And management change doesn’t directly affect efficiency and effectiveness in the government at once; rather, problems arise in the implementation itself. For there is no such best approach in policy implementation, whether it may be a “Top-Bottom” or “Bottom-Top” Approach. It is on the prevailing needs of each devolved lower level of government agency, kind of leader and his followers, availability of resources, and the needs of its clienteles who are the end beneficiaries of such innovation.

            In the Philippines, decentralization has been applied to most of our government agencies like the Department of Agriculture to mention one. In the late 1980’s, the Municipal, Provincial, and Regional Agricultural Offices, were directly responsible and accountable to the Central Office of such agency. However, due to decentralization, the Municipal and the Provincial Agricultural Offices are now under the direct supervision and administration of the Municipal Mayors and Provincial Governors respectively. However, the Regional Offices are still directly attached to the Central Office. But as the saying goes “For every acceleration, there’s corresponding deceleration.” For such devolution brought out some disadvantages. The Central Office of the Department of Agriculture will now have limited interventions as regard to the formulation and implementation of the programs, projects or activities of the devolved agencies. It could only partake in assisting such aforementioned agencies. The devolved agencies may have independence, but are subjected to the availability of resources, funds in particular, in the pursuit of their specified agricultural programs, projects and activities.

            Privatization of some government agencies in our country must be and must have been discouraged. For, inefficiency and ineffectiveness in government lies on the leaders of our country. Privatization is not the answer to minimize, if not totally eradicate, waste in our present government – Arroyo Administration, in particular. If politics that cause corruption will still prevail, such innovation to improve and develop the present system in our government will become a futile one. Since, how can we implement something efficiently and effectively, if funds are delayed? Yes, it’s true!, that we could move without money, but a car will not run without gasoline. How long could you work to such injustice system? Imagine, if the car is the programs, projects, and activities, how long could we push that car to move smoothly and continuously!?

            According to Frederick Taylor, father of Scientific Management, there is always “one best way of doing things.” People can work efficiently and effectively by following “scientifically proven processes.”  But although Privatization, Top-Bottom, or Bottom-Top Approach to implement management change in the government, if our present government system will not change for the better, then, there will no longer any point of argument to discuss such concern.

            “The best time to plant a tree is twenty years ago. The second best time is now.” But when will be this second best time to happen? Who will start? So that total and quality management change would be realized.


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Comments 1 comment

Sechaba 4 years ago

Without going through the whole topic, I found it quiet informative, as it clearly outline how change management is viewed in public service as in private organisations. This is a very good piece of work worth reading and was helpful for my assighnment.

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