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Stepping out: Rhetorical devices and culture change management in the UK Civil Service

Driscoll, Amanda and Morris, Jonathan Llewellyn ORCID: 2001. Stepping out: Rhetorical devices and culture change management in the UK Civil Service. Public Administration 79 (4) , pp. 803-824. 10.1111/1467-9299.00281

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Organizational culture is the pattern of values and beliefs held by members of an organization and the management of culture is now one of the most frequently discussed of all organizational concepts. The excitement associated with culture is attributable to two factors. First, it is argued that culture is the key to organizational performance; simply stated, a strong organizational culture can be a source of competitive advantage. Second, culture is perceived as an alternative method of control to traditional and technocratic forms of management and can be manipulated to ensure that employees are enthusiastic and committed to organizational objectives. Despite the extensive interest in this topic, culture remains an elusive concept. This paper investigates the nature of culture and considers strategies for introducing cultural change. Specifically, the aims of the paper are threefold. First, to locate and explain the interests and significance of culture change for the public sector. Second, using a case study of a newly created agency, to investigate the problems and issues affecting cultural change in the civil service. Third, to reassess and critically evaluate the claims for culture management made in the literature. Finally, this paper questions some of the assumptions in the literature, which with few exceptions are biased toward top management and the unitary conception of organization, an ideological frame of reference which is particularly problematic in the public sector.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Business (Including Economics)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > HD28 Management. Industrial Management
J Political Science > JF Political institutions (General)
J Political Science > JN Political institutions (Europe) > JN101 Great Britain
Publisher: Wiley
ISSN: 0033-3298
Last Modified: 21 Oct 2022 10:57

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