Public Service Policy and Strategy Business Essay
Organisations change in various ways which means that they become different.This could happen as a result of becoming a larger entity or by changing from a private to a public company.Change could also take place as a result of becoming “more customer or marketing focused as opposed to production orientated” (The Times, 2012, p.
1) or by changing the scope of its business activities. These are just some of the changes that may occur within an organisation and could lead to either a positive or negative outcome. Whilst change is inevitable, it is important that Public Service Organisations’ (PSO) are able to deal with any challenges they face. This is because, PSO’s are in a position of trust as they provide services to the public and so are owned and controlled by the government. Hence, it is therefore vital that PSO’s fully understand the public sector and are prepared for new changes. This could be achieved by ensuring that there is a need for change and thereby planning for it; by building internal support systems and by overcoming resistance by making sure that there is top management support and commitment (Sergio and Rainey, 2006: 168). Provided that these factors are taken into consideration, a trusting environment will be created and PSO’s will be equipped for any transitions that take place. The main changes that are likely to take place within a PSO include: services design; structural alterations, management or administration of PSO’s, and changes to the skills that are necessary to manage PSO’s. Understanding the process of transformation and change in PSO’s are thereby key elements of a manager’s role. There are two kinds of strategies for managing change, these are planned and emergency, yet how these strategies are utilised will depend on the type of change taking place.
The current scenario of the British Red Cross (BRC) will be explained in this report followed by an assessment as to whether change within the BRC is in fact needed. A new strategic direction will also be introduced which will contain the BRC’s main objective which is to; “help people in crisis in the UK and all over the world” (BRC, 2012: 1). This will be done by firstly introducing the BRC and putting forward a change situation. The force field analysis evaluating drivers and resisters of the change will then be explained followed by an overview of Mintzberg’s concept of an emergent strategy. Once this has been done, an action plan which demonstrates how the change shall happen will then be constructed, followed by a conclusion and overall summary of the reports main findings.
Section 1: Introduction to the BRC and change proposal
1.1 Organization background (BRC):
The British Red Cross (BRC) is a UK society, which is part of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement that aims to provide aid to those in crisis. The BRC helps those within and outside of the UK and operates a non-discriminatory policy. The main objective of the BRC is to provide assistance to people in crisis by conforming to the seven fundamental principles which are:
In addition to these principles, the BRC strives to be compassionate, inclusive, dynamic and courageous (BRC, 2011c: 1) and is recognised as one of the main voluntary aid societies within the UK. The BRC undertakes a number of different activities annually so that individuals can be provided with the help that they need. In 2011 the BRC launched seven emergency appeals to help people around the world recover from famine, flooding, earthquakes and conflict, raising 21.6 million; helped 75,000 people in Haiti recover their livelihoods; responded to 4,200 emergency call outs in the UK; loaned out 75,000 wheelchairs; and helped 35,000 refugees and asylum seekers adapt to life in the UK (BRC, 2011b: 1-27). As the BRC is a charity, nonetheless, much of the funding comes from voluntary public contributions and whilst personal contributions are highly important so are corporate contributions since the BRC would not be able to function effectively without such aid.
1.2 Analyzing the change situation:
After reviewing both the internal and external environment of the BRC, it is revealed that the BRC needs to raise greater awareness about overseas emergency aid. This is because, after undertaking various research activities, it was found that “almost three in four Britons feel that they are not well informed about overseas emergency aid issues” (BRC, 2011c: 1). In accordance with this, it is vital that changes to the ways in which the BRC operates are made so that a greater awareness of overseas aid can be achieved. Because the BRC operates on public funding, it is necessary for all individuals to be made fully aware of the different areas of the aid system. This could be attained through the formation of an executive organisation dealing primarily with aid awareness. The public would thus be provided with greater confidence when donating to the BRC as they would be fully aware of how their aid is being utilized. Consequently, the main objective of this new strategic direction is to prevent corruption and organisational incompetence whilst promoting an awareness of emergency aid. In realising this direction, the BRC’s current business strategy would need to be altered in order to approach the public in developed countries and provide them with an insight into the ways underdeveloped countries are being supported. This would certainly encourage further aid and would evidently lead to the growth of the BRC.
Section 2 Force field analysis evaluating drivers and resisters of the change
There are a number of different factors which drive change within any organisation, yet Lewin (1951) identified four different forces in his force field analysis. These are;
forces for change;
forces resisting change;
driving forces; and
These forces are used in change management and help to understand most change processes in any organisation. If there is a balance between the two types of forces, no change will take place. However, if the driving force exceeds the restraining force then changes will be made.Accordingly, the total drivers and resisters first need to be identified. Once this has been done, an appropriate score from 0-9 then needs to be assigned to the force. Based on the total score of all the drivers and resisters, it is determined whether implementation of change would be successful or not.
Below is the representation of influencer drivers and resisters of the proposed change situation for the BRC.
Forces FOR change
Forces AGAINST change
Need to raise awareness about overseas emergency aid
8 Complex issues may be raised
Desire to increase voluntary donations
7 BRC’s current strategies are workable
Need to understand how aid is being utilised
8 Costs are reduced
Possibility of increased public donations
7 Rational resistance of change
2.1 Drivers of change:
Need to raise awareness about overseas emergency aid – This force is imperative in preventing corrupt practices from taking place, yet the only way the public can be assured that this is being achieved is through improved public understanding as to how the BRC’s aid is being spent. At present, the public are unsure as to why developing countries remain underdeveloped when a significant amount of aid is being transferred to these countries each year. However, as noted by Akande (2001, p. 27); “the sums concerned, though large, can do little to offset the far greater imbalances in the world economic order where raw commodities exported from developing countries have lost more than 50% of their trade value in the last 15 years.” Furthermore, whilst individuals and organisations provide a lot of aid to the BRC, a substantial amount of this is paid to the bank in interest. Furthermore, debt servicing payments are also paid to the World Bank, which means that developing countries are left with very little to establish their own economies. This appears somewhat absurd and it is unsurprising why there is a great reluctance to provide aid to underdeveloped countries because of this. Consequently, provided that the BRC can demonstrate exactly how their particular aid is utilised, it is likely that further investments will be made. This is because, as stressed by Aid Info (2008; p. 1); “Organisations and governments are most effective when they can be held accountable to those they serve, in this instance, communities receiving aid.” Therefore, unless aid transparency is ascertained, the growth of the BRC will be affected. This force scores 8 as it is given high consideration for effective aid utilization within the UK.
Desire to increase voluntary donations – Because the BRC operates on voluntary donations, it is vital that these can be increased which is likely to be attained through aid transparency. This force scores 7 from this too has a significant impact upon the drive for change.
Need to understand how aid is being utilised – If the public understand how their donations will be utilised it is likely that they will donate a lot more. As such, better awareness and utilisation is required. This force impacts deeply and thus scores 8 to demonstrate the significance of aid utilization maximization.
Possibilities of increased public donations – It is likely that there would be an increased level of public donations if the public were fully aware of how their contributions were being spent. Essentially, it is important that this scores 7 since the value of the chain is clearly determined by this.
2.2 Resisters of change:
Complex issues may be raised – Greater accountability may cause many problems for the BRC and the internal environment may be significantly affected as a result. This force scores 5 to illustrate its impact.
BRC’s current strategies are workable – Because of the success in which the BRC has had so far, it could be said that changes to aid awareness would be detrimental and that aid data would still only be partially available. This change scores 6 in order to reflect the concern surrounding this issue.
Costs are reduced: Because of the costs that would be incurred from generating awareness, it is likely that the amount of net aid will be reduced which would have a damaging effect to the value of the BRC. It therefore scores 5.
Rational resistance of change: In justifying the need for this change, a determination as to whether aid awareness is really necessary needs to be made. Nevertheless, because rational resistance is easily overcome it scores a low 3 as the impact of this is minimal.
After quantifying the numbers of drivers and resisters with their degree of influence it is evident that there will be more drivers than resisters of this particular change. Accordingly, the total score of drivers is 30, whilst the total score of resistors is 19. As a result, it is manifest that the change to be made will be more likely to succeed since aid awareness is likely to have a positive impact on the performance of the BRC.
Section 3: Mintzberg’s concept of an emergent strategy for proposed change in the BRC
3.1 Understanding Mintzberg’s emergent strategy:
An emergent strategy is one that emerges over time as unexpected changes in the environment collide with intentions. Essentially, this means that the intended strategy of an organisation eventually changes in accordance with what actually works in practice (Moore, 2011, p. 1). Thus, according to Mintzberg (1985, p. 257); “strategies are largely emergent within organisations and not simply predictable outcomes of formal hierarchical plans.” Consequently, it is thus believed by Mintzberg (1994) that the management of any organisation should therefore adopt a more flexible approach when it comes to strategic planning since the original objectives will undoubtedly be subject to change. In accordance with this emergent strategy, it is thereby important that the strategic plan for BRC includes ways to reduce the resisters of change. This will be done in accordance with the BRC’s best practice.
3.2 Constructing emergent strategy to implement change in the BRC:
An emergent strategy can be created by following these steps; (Scott, 2006, pp. 6-7).
Step 1 – Identify and map out any assumptions and risks of the BRC’s strategy;
Step 2 – Identify and prioritise those assumptions and risks in order to learn more about them so that any risks can be dealt with accordingly;
Step 3 – Design and execute knowledge building exercises in order to build smart experiments and risk mitigation strategies;
Step 4 – Absorb and redirect based on the results of the experiments.
By putting these steps into practice, BRC will be able to adjust to any new ideas and deal with any challenges they may face according. This will ultimately increase the chances of this new change succeeding.
Step 1 – Identify and map out any assumptions and risks in of the BRC’s strategy
Because change within any organisation lead creates a certain degree of uncertainty, it is important to carefully review all parts of an emergent strategy, whether these are positive or negative. Since the BRC aims to provide help and assistance to those in crisis around the world, it is evident that the change relating to aid transparency will not have much of a damaging effect. However, there will be some concern relating to the case flow of the BRC as the costs incurred may have a negative impact on this. Nevertheless, if this change leads to an increase in donations, the dent in the cash flow can be overcome. Consequently, the change in this strategy is proposed to change the views on donating and provide those willing to donate with a deeper understanding of how aid is being utilised. This will prevent corrupt practices from being employed and the utilization of aid will be maximised.
Step 2 – Identify and prioritise those assumptions and risks in order to learn more about them so that any risks can be dealt with accordingly
Whilst the internal and external environment of the BRC will be affected by this change, it is important to prioritise the assumptions and risks by considering the impact a wrong assumption would have on the BRC and determining how any risks can in fact be overcome. It also needs to be considered whether the assumptions are certain because even the slightest doubt can significantly affect the overall strategy of the BRC. Consideration of how further assumptions can be learnt also needs to be taken into account so that costs of running further experiments and the amount of time this will take can be established.
Step 3 – Design and execute knowledge building exercises in order to build smart experiments and risk mitigation strategies
All good emergent strategies need experiments and risk mitigation strategies so that any uncertainties in the approach taken can be identified and dealt with early on. Experiments can consist of; partial experiments, which test one part of a strategy, and holistic experiments, which test the whole of the strategy.
Step 4 – Absorb and redirect based on the results of the experiments
This stage of the emergent strategy process consists of a knowledge building exercise. The BRC and its management will thus be required to re-assess the approach being undertaken and consider whether any new information should lead the management to; double down, continue exploring, re-vector or shelve (Scott, 2008, p. 9).
Consequently, in order to construct the emergent strategy for change in the BRC pre-strategic planning and implementation is required.
Section 4: Precise Action plan
Develop the BRC’s own team of executivesAction 1: Implement a task-expertise-person model of team effectiveness
Action 2: Organise the entire system of operation leadership and responsibilities Action 3: Construct Executive Strategy
Action 4: Develop an effective HR management systemManagers and employeesInformation Services, computerisation, resource centre and networkingCalculate the costs and allocate responsibilitiesCostly and Time ConsumingMarch 2013Analyse the executive’s current skills, knowledge and competencies and develop a training plan for the team of executives through the completion of a gap analysis.
Raise awareness about overseas aid in order to increase voluntary donationsAction 1: Consider how aid should be effectively distributed
Action 2: Raise current awareness about aid
Action 3:Operative executivesQuestionnaires, Perceptions Survey,
Networking and Resource CentresAs aboveNegative impact of PEST factorsMay 2013Interact with the public in order to determine current awareness
Collect and Analyse Experimental DataAction 1: Evaluate current awareness
Action 2: Consider the effects increased awareness would have on the organisation
Action 3: Record current activities of aid awarenessEmployeesAs aboveAs aboveConsider the effects transparency will have on the BRCAugust 2013Analyse the data collected and reach a conclusion based on the findings. Use statistical methods to decide whether the change is worthwhile
Finalise Emergent StrategyAction 1:
Design and Execute Knowledge Building Exercises
Action 2: Pre Strategic Planning
Action 3: Redirect activities based on the findings
Managers, Executors and Leadership TeamAs AboveReviewing Data, Generating Initiatives, Prioritising Activities, Writing the overall planConsider how the resistors of change can be overcomeDecember 2013Adjust to the new ideas and deal with any challenges in an appropriate manner
Implement the ChangeAction 1: Raise awareness of overseas aid
Action 2: Ensure the BRC’s activities are transparent
Action 3: Provide the public with an overview as to how the resources are being usedManagers, Executors and Leadership TeamComputer Systems, Internet, VolunteersImplement the PlanIf the outcomes are negative, re-direct the strategy and start againMarch 2014Review the emergent strategy and make changes where necessary
Section 5: Concluding Remarks
Many organisations are coming to the realisation that change is to be expected, which is why it is important that effective strategies are in place that will help to deal with such changes and ensure that only positive outcomes are produced. Whilst the introduction of significant changes can be confusing and frustrating leading to a decline in productivity, it is clear that such drawbacks can be overcome through the implementation of an effective emergent strategy. Accordingly, risks to productivity will thus be eradicated and the desired objectives of the change will be achieved. The BRC does not have an easy solution when it comes to making changes to the organisational structure of the business and instead ensures that any changes to be made are thoroughly thought out before they are implemented. Thus, in order for the BRC to reach its overall aim which is to help those in crisis, much emphasis is placed upon the need for transparency. The fundamental idea is to provide the public with a greater understanding of how the aid that is provided to the BRC is being utilised so that voluntary donations increase. In addition, it is likely that corrupt practices would be eradicated if the BRC were more transparent and although this would cost money; the advantages clearly outweigh the disadvantages. This report uses the force field analysis in order to identify the resistors and drivers of this proposed change and to consider whether the change should take place. Because the score for change is 30, whilst the score against change is 19, it is evident that the change will prove successful. Therefore, in order to achieve the desired outcome of the change, the emergent strategy of Mintzberg ought to be used.
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