• A case study of performance appraisal in a small public sector organisation: The gaps between expectations and experience

      Warhurst, Russell; Mooney, John (University of Chester, 2009-12)
      The research project sets out to identify the gaps between expectations and experiences of performance appraisal in a small public sector organisation. The document explains how Passenger Focus, the rail watchdog, has undergone a successful corporate transformation from the previous federal network of regional committees into a new credible consumer body. The organisation has a new vision, and robust business planning processes have been introduced. However, there is a need to improve performance management through a new performance appraisal system. The overall purpose of the research is to assess the gaps between expectations and experiences in order to inform a new system. The literature review explains the background to the development of performance and its measurement in the public sector. It includes a detailed analysis of thinking on performance appraisal. The literature review concludes that performance appraisal can greatly benefit organisations, but appears to not be delivering in many cases. A conceptual model is developed to frame the empirical research. The research takes the form of a case study, and the findings are collated through qualitative interviews. A focus group was conducted, which framed the issues of concern, and these were explored in much more detail through semi-structured interviews. The findings revealed that there was a high level of understanding from staff of the need for performance appraisal. The largest gap between expectations and experiences lay in the current system, with respondents particularly concerned about the lack of training and over-simplistic documentation. Non-measurement of competencies was also a concern. Respondents were generally positive about recent experiences of appraisal. The findings suggest that motivated managers have made the system work for them, despite concerns about process, and respondents believe fairness is generally achieved. More attention is required to appraise team effort. There was little appetite for a system that links appraisal to financial reward. The conclusions of the research have informed the main recommendation, to develop a new system that is much more comprehensive, and incorporates training and guidelines. That new system should be developed through engagement with staff.
    • e-HR transformation projects within the UK public sector: Critical success factors

      Nicholas, Alison (University of Chester, 2010)
      The paper sets out the findings of a study of e-HR Transformation Projects within the UK Public Sector using the lens of Critical Success Factors. Key problems of training (knowledge transfer) and post-implementation management are critically examined. The vast field of e-HR Transformation theorisation is mapped and the project management approaches are scrutinised. Base on qualitative, interpretive research methods, the results provide a rich empirical data set and show clearly the contested nature of “traditional” Critical Success Factors related to these specific projects. Information is based on the assessment of staff involved in both pre and post implementation situations and their experiences in a project and operational capacity. It is concluded that there are specific Critical Success Factors related to e-HR Transformation Projects which should be highlighted as a focus for attention in the construction of the initial Business Case and prior to the selection of the technical solution. Therefore, implications for the e-HR agenda are advanced and specific recommendations are made for project managers and practitioners.
    • Has the introduction to homogenous business management structures improved flexibility in Liverpool City Council?

      Webb, Paul; Malloy, Bill (University of ChesterLiverpool City Council, 2010-06)
      May 2010 saw the emergence of a hung parliament from the general elections. The public had exercised their right to vote and made their decision. It is now the duty of the elected members of parliament to form a government that will govern in the interest of the country. With a mountainous financial burden hanging over the nation, it has never been more important for public sector organisations to deliver value for money and maximise performance. All political parties have indicated that there will be cuts in the public sector and have recognised that the public sector will have to shrink, yet still deliver essential services. This will involve a reshaping of the public sector, with fewer staff delivering services. It will require a more business oriented approach to service delivery with economies of scale and efficiency drives. It will require structural changes with multi-skilled staff delivering a more flexible approach to service delivery. Such a change has already taken place within Liverpool City Council. The old council service structures have been replaced with new business unit structures. But has the introduction of business units changed the way we work? Has it improved services? Has it improved the flexibility? In this study we shall consider the flexibility issue. We shall develop a flexibility measurement model and put the new structure to the test.
    • A managers view of critical success factors necessary for the successful implementation of ERP

      Proctor, Tony; Turton, James W. (University of Chester, 2010-09)
      Organisations look to enterprise resource planning (ERP) as a significant strategic tool of competition. ERP plays an important role in today's enterprise management and is beginning to be the backbone of organisations. Although ERP has been recognised as a useful tool, in practice, there are many difficulties in compelling people to implement it effectively. In this case, how to help ERP's future effective implementation has already attracted the attention of several researchers. The goal of this research was to increase the knowledge base regarding Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) Software implementation in the public sector. To this end, factors regarding benefits sought through ERP system implementation and critical factors surrounding successful ERP implementation were identified. In addition, the perception of project team members' satisfaction with modules implemented and their concerns about implementing ERP software were identified in this study. The results of this study provided recommendations for public sector organisations in order to increase their opportunity for successful ERP system implementation. However, there is no reason why this information cannot be considered to be useful to private sector organisations when considering ERP implementation projects. The literature review and results of this study suggested that the benefits sought during ERP system implementation included increased standardisation, better reporting, and reduced operational costs were recognised as goals of ERP software implementation, with the overarching goal to improve efficiency. Factors that were important to successful ERP system implementations were top management support, knowledgeable and experienced project managers and knowledgeable and committed team members. The study included recommendations for organisations to fully research ERP functionality prior to implementation, to implement strong change management, use other means of measuring return on investment, ensure employee buy-in and top management involvement and to avoid scope creep at all cost. In addition, a key element is to undertake some form of benchmarking exercise of existing systems prior to commencement as a measure of success of implementation of all or various elements of ERP.