• "New ways of working": An assessment of the effectiveness of the management of change in Liverpool's community libraries

      Page, Steve; Stoker, David (University of Chester, 2009-06)
      Change is required almost constantly for organisations to survive, adapt to their internal and external environments, and improve if possible. The effective management of change is therefore of crucial importance. However, there are many competing and sometimes conflicting proposed theories and models, but often little assessment of change itself in practice, not least as perceived and experienced by the recipients of change. The key research problem to be addressed here is how change can be managed effectively and what are the key aspects to consider when trying to implement or stimulate change. This dissertation involves the detailed assessment of a practical example of change management in Liverpool's Community Libraries from 2005 onwards. This begins with a planned change in the form of a partial restructure followed by subsequent changes, including those accompanying refurbished libraries, with the aim of creating further continuous, emergent change. Libraries documentation and training programmes associated with this refer to "new ways of working." A conceptual model is developed based on a literature review. This attempts to set out key aspects to consider in the cyclical process of change and relates to change awareness and readiness, change design, and change evaluation. The model is used to inform a questionnaire sent to all of the change recipients. The results of the survey are analysed and presented along with the results of semi-structured interviews conducted with the change director, principal change agent, and five change recipients. It is found that there are mixed results from and perspectives on the changes. All aspects of the model have been paid attention to during the changes to a greater or lesser extent, but mostly with less emphasis than recommended hi the theory. In particular, it is found that less attention has been paid in practice to selling the vision, encouraging authentic participation, and evaluating the changes. Nevertheless, just over half of the staff believe that they have changed their ways of working with perceived benefits to the service to customers. It is recognised that no one model will be universally applicable but that certain key aspects of change always deserve as much consideration as possible.