The contribution made by programme leadership consultants to the creation and maintenance of momentum for public service change programmes and the implications for their client sponsors: theory building within the context of a case study of the Maltese public service (1987-2001)

Mizzi, Konrad. (2011) The contribution made by programme leadership consultants to the creation and maintenance of momentum for public service change programmes and the implications for their client sponsors: theory building within the context of a case study of the Maltese public service (1987-2001). PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.

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Abstract

Consultants have diversified their offerings to include support for the formulation and implementation of complex public sector change programmes. Such programme leadership consultants provide mixed advisory-programme delivery support, which often translates into longer engagements. This growing phenomenon is less common and understood than the traditional view of consultants who act as advisors, and requires the focus of academia. The context of the research is a case study of the Maltese Public Service, wherein major change programmes were launched and sustained over a long timeframe. The case study spanned multiple legislatures and witnessed various changes in leadership and strategy. Interestingly Consultants were engaged throughout the case study in both an advisory and a programme leadership capacity, and contributed to the creation and maintenance of momentum for the change programmes, until the programmes eventually ran out of energy. These programmes were also confronted with resistance.

The research builds on existing theory to inform our understanding of the contribution programme leadership consultants can make to the creation and maintenance of momentum for change programmes, and implications for the client sponsor of the change programmes. Whilst representing only one aspect of consultancy engagements, this presents important considerations for client sponsors.

The case study was bracketed from the perspective of client sponsors of the change programmes into three policy cycles based on change archetypes adopted. The researcher developed a Theoretical Framework which guided the research process and comprised of a number of theory building themes. The theory building themes were translated into research questions for each policy cycle. Four theory building -chapters focus on the analysis of the case study, theoretical analysis and relationship to existing theory, and the formulation of theoretical propositions guided by the theory building themes.

The thesis has contributed to knowledge development at two levels. Firstly a theoretical framework was developed and refined which defines and better informs our understanding the phenomenon and comprises five Theory Building themes: Leverage of the Consultants' Relationship with the Client (CL); Power and Political Strategies Deployed by Consultants (P&P); Consultants' ability to Adapt over time (AD); Resistance and Consultants' Mitigation Strategies (R&M); and Programme Leadership Techniques and Discipline adopted by Consultants (NA). Secondly the thesis has informed our current theoretical understanding of such consulting engagements, with implications on client sponsors of such change programmes by applying the theoretical building themes and research questions to examine three policy cycles wherein different change archetypes were adopted.

The thesis also presents practitioner implications for Consultants and Client Sponsors of Change programmes, presents a discussion on generalisation of findings, highlights the limitations associated with the research undertaken and unresolved theoretical issues, and proposes pointers for future research.

Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Supervisors:Gow, I.
Uncontrolled Keywords:Organizational change, consultants, civil service, Malta
Faculties/Schools:UK Campuses > Faculty of Social Sciences, Law and Education > Nottingham University Business School
ID Code:2902
Deposited By:Ms Valerie Airey
Deposited On:09 Nov 2012 10:33
Last Modified:09 Nov 2012 10:33

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