BPR and Organisational Culture
Whilst all writers on BPR highlight the importance of the human factors in implementation, we can conclude that their differing views as to how to approach the people issues, reflects the diversity of opinion within the broader perspective of change management. A diversity that stems from the very different opinions as to what organisational culture is, and as to whether and how it can be changed.
From the preliminary research exercise we can make a number of tentative conclusions. First, that most organisations undertaking BPR are making significant reductions in staff numbers and that they are under-going significant change both in their type of organisational structures and in their management styles. Whilst the research does confirm that respondents overwhelming believe that organisational culture can be changed, it seems there is little consensus as to the factors for achieving such change, other than it needs time to accomplish. Thirdly, that management are not overtly concerned about any ethical considerations in changing their employees values and beliefs.
It was noted that antagonist to BPR are concerned with the social implications, such as significant redundancies and an atmosphere of fear and insecurity for those that remain. Their accusations against the BPR protagonist, that of overtly using hard, systematic and coercive change management techniques, only seems to be somewhat true. Most of the respondent organisations do also use softer techniques and there is little evidence that UK organisations rely to the same degree on the very hard techniques, involving the use of artefacts such as stories, symbols, rituals, etc., as in the US. There is also no evidence to support the antagonist claims that the harder techniques are promoted by over analytical consultants schooled in the machine metaphor typified in Taylorism. Some change management academics highlight the importance of power, or of external factors (context), so it could be conjectured that such factors as the recession has hardened management's attitudes towards their employees and thus influenced the techniques used.
A tentative conclusion is that most employee improvements occur when there is indeed an emphasis on the harder techniques, particularly those that aim to directly change employees behavioural patterns, but that most improvements occur where these are complemented by a number of the softer techniques. Further, it seems that most improvements occur with BPR programmes that have been running for 2 to 3 years. Given most respondent's BPR programmes were still in-progress, with most for less than a year, then organisations will need the tenacity to see their BPR projects bear fruit.
[Front Page] [Executive
[Content] [1 Introduction]
[2 BPR] [3 Culture]
[4 BPR & Culture]
[5 Preliminary Research] [6 Findings] [7 Summary] [8 Conclusions] [Appendices] [Bibliography]
Original report: January 1995 This page created: March 2000 © Managing Change 1995,96,97,98,99,2000 www.managingchange.com
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