Before analyzing the change process, it was important to classify the type of change for the most appropriate change approach to be used. It was obvious that the police force carried out a structural change from top-down. The main objective of this change was to shift the patterns of responsibility and control within and across the organization, which meant changes in the roles and tasks of various employees. As it involved a redistribution of power, a consultative approach would be appropriate as it recognized that employees needed to be consulted about the process. The advantage was to reduce resistance as the legitimacy of organizing difference was within a constitutional order of both higher and lower ranks.
However, the original change process was managed by collaborative approach. It was evident by the open-ended for discussion amongst the various parties. The management and the senior officers defined the problem (as internal change agent to drive the change) and solution (reorganization plan). All employees were collaborated to define the timing and the implementation process. For example, senior officers were briefed on the aims of the plan, the information was cascaded downwards, seminars were held to gender understanding of and commitment, etc.
This approach (as well as the reorganization plan) implied that a paradigm change was essential to let go of power and control from top management team to lower rank. Yet, there were obvious restraining forces from the senior officers that undermined the advantages of this change process. As per Superintendent Cowan, it raised the issue of whether there was any serious intention of decentralizing power to the operating core or whether the strategic elite based at headquarters intended to retain in large measure their power and influence.
Because of this fundamental power struggle problem, collaboration was hard to manage from a practical point of view. The groups and individual might have brought into discussion, but their feedback and suggestions were never put into the domain of agenda. It was also likely that the senior officers pre-dominated all the point of view when there was disagreement. This was possibly one of the reasons why the original reorganization plan was rejected at the very beginning.
Consequently, the change process was turned to a more coercive approach at the later stage. The management and senior officers decided what and how the change they wanted. This was more about the retaining of power for them such as increased demand for information as controlling purpose, increased reporting ratios, etc. It involved the overt use of power, which was also the side effect of the restraining force from the lower rank. It increased tensions between the centre and the operating units, lack of inter-unit cooperation, workload, etc. Ultimately, these problems led to lower level informal conflicts and delays that undermined the achievement of goals.
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