It is widely accepted that the Thatcher years and their immediate aftermath were associated with substantive social and organizational change. The privatisation programme, 'the rolling back of the State', prosecuted by the successive Conservative Governments from 1979-1997 was a central pillar of Governmental policy. This thesis seeks to engage with privatization through the of CoastElectric, a newly privatised Regional Electricity Company. This thesis contributes to the extant understanding of the dynamics of organizational change in four major ways. Firstly, the study into CoastElectric addresses the senior management decision making within the organization: in particular, it will attempt to make sense of 'why' particular decisions were made. The theoretical backdrop to this concern will draw on the concepts of normalization, cultural capital and corporate fashion. The argument presented in this thesis is that the decision-making broadly corresponded with that which could be considered to be at the vanguard of mangerialist thought. However, a detailed analysis suggested that at different junctures in CoastElectric's history there were differences in the approach to decision making that warranted further analysis. The most notable finding was that the relative levels of new managerialist cultural capital possessed by the decision-making elite had an important bearing upon whether the decision was formulated either endogenously or exogenously, with the assistance of cultural intermediaries such as management consultants. The thesis demonstrates the importance of the broader discourse of new managerialism in terms of shaping what is considered to be a 'commonsensical, rational' strategy. The second concern of this thesis is that of the process of organizational change. The study of CoastElectric attempts to provide a rich account of the dynamics of organizational change. This is realized through, first, examining the pre-existing context of the organization; second, through analyzing the power politics of change interventions. The master concepts utilised in this endeavour are that of: dividing practices, the establishment of violent hierarchies between competing discourses; symbolic violence; critical turning points; recursiveness; creative destruction; legitimation strategies and the reconstitution of subjects in the workplace.
|Date of Award||2000|
- dynamics of organizational change
- analysis of power
- professions and new managerialism