+1 (208) 254-6996 essayswallet@gmail.com

at the individual, organizational and technological level, and are part of and contribute to the external and internal environment of organizations. Individual employees and organizations learn from best practices within their own organization, but also within their sector or even across sectors or on a global scale. Implementing such best practices leads in many cases to organizational change:

P3. Knowledge sharing within and between organizations triggers organizational change.

Don't use plagiarized sources. Get Your Custom Essay on
at the individual, organizational and technological level, and are part of and contribute to the external and internal environment of organizations
Just from $13/Page
Order Essay

Scholars in the field of public management stress the relevance of knowledge sharing in the sense of cross-sector collaborations (Bryson et al., 2006). Applied to the police this means that police organizations need to exchange knowledge and practices with relevant stakeholders (i.e. municipalities, health services, government, but also organizations in the private sector) in order to adapt to increasingly complex demands. To ensure that such rich knowledge exchange is successful, skilful leaders are needed to integrate “people, processes, structures and resources” (Ansell and Gash, 2008).

However, the importance of knowledge sharing as a critical factor in change processes goes beyond exchanging information on best practice or mistakes to be avoided. Successful inter-organizational knowledge sharing depends on the comparability of the organizations. Just transferring best practices from one organization to another could lead to a serious misfit of practices. Best practices need to be translated into the context of the respective (recipient) organization:

P4. Knowledge sharing is most likely to be successful when organizations share similar characteristics and operate within similar environments.

In addition to knowledge sharing, our model pays special attention to the role of technology in organizational change processes. Since the introduction of assembly lines, it has been widely acknowledged that technology functions as an agent of change in many respects, and must be handled as a key contingency factor. Technology can facilitate knowledge sharing, trigger new practices of work and influence methods of internal and external organizational communication, to name just a few functions. Most of the technology-related organizational change literature either focuses on the role of technology as such (Gosain, 2004) or on the role of social dynamics within organizations (Latour, 1996).

More recent debates on the role of technology in organizational change stress the importance of having technology embedded in organizations (Labatut et al., 2012; Volkoff et al., 2007) and of integrating material and social perspectives on technology. Especially in an international setting, it seems increasingly vital to understand how the environment and organizational features mediate the social meaning that is given to technology, and how this can trigger and shape organizational change processes:

P5. Technology implementation is a highly context contingent process that triggers organizational change differently depending on the organizational context.

In the late nineties, some police forces in Germany introduced a system to record work hours in a cost accounting system in order to get data on how to use tight resources more efficiently and shift resources from inefficient procedures to core activities of policing. After an initial phase of getting used to typing in the required data into the correct fields and after the usual complaints

JOCM 26,5




(“another useless statistical procedure”), police officers were expected to adopt the new software as one of the many unavoidable chores that shape a police officer’s life and ultimately become part of their daily routines. But despite sufficient information on why this change was necessary, a large number of police officers refused to get used to it, and resentment instead grew over the years. It soon became obvious that the new software was not just any kind of culturally “neutral” tool, but was considered part of a new management philosophy largely shaped by a model of private business that was resented on principal grounds. Data input was mostly inaccurate, supervisors didn’t use the data, because they couldn’t trust them, and after several years, some police forces quietly abandoned the plan to introduce cost accounting systems as the basis of a new management data base altogether (Christe-Zeyse, 2007b).

The internal dynamics of organizations: The throughput component. Throughput processes take place within the organization. The wish to engage in organizational change may well be triggered by a perceived misfit, as defined previously. This may be externally driven, given new pressures from the environment, or internally triggered by organizational leaders who believe that internal weaknesses have to be repaired (or a combination of the two, for that matter). At this point of the argument, two remarks are worth making.

First, in practice, it is the subjective perception of (mis)fit that counts as an organizational change trigger, not the “objective” outcomes of a SWOT analysis. In the noisy circumstances of organizational life, mistakes are inevitable. Second, of course, perceived misfit in the sense of a misalignment in SWOT analysis is not the only motivation for organizational change. For instance, managerial power and control-restoring aims are cited as alternative organizational change drivers (Wittek and van Witteloostuijn, 2013). Knowledge sharing and best practices observed in other organizations might lead to the start of change processes, just as the implementation of new technologies can lead to organizational change.

The literature on organizational change offers insights into the internal processes launched by such organizational change initiatives. Here, we would like to summarise these effects by focusing on the potential content benefits and the potential process losses of organizational change (Barnett and Carroll, 1995). In principle, to boost organizational performance, the content of change should be such that weaknesses will be ameliorated or bypassed, and strengths will be reinforced or exploited. But some of these changes also produce losses that are unexpected and difficult to observe (Hannan et al., 2003a, b; Ford et al., 2008).

A new training programme aimed at improving the social skills of community police officers is supposed to improve a police station’s fit with the societal demand for citizen oriented police work. However, such a change intervention may also come with unexpected process losses. For example, the social skills training programme may trigger resistance from officers strongly believing in the action-oriented crime fighter profile of police, vis-à-vis the more preventive and citizen oriented practices associated with the training programme. This, in turn, may trigger discussions about the perceived “softness” of the new course the police force has embarked on in general – discussions that may lead to perceptions of cognitive dissonance between the officers’ perceptions of good policing and the perceived objectives of leaders ( Jacobs et al., 2007).

Frequently, perceptions such as the one described in the quote which follows, extend to areas that are not even related to the original trigger. In our case, police officers may find proof of the new “softness” in other areas as well, be it in the way a new leader

A framework of organizational





communicates or the tone of a recent press release or a change in the web site design of their police force. It lies in the nature of such sensemaking processes that they cannot be determined by “above”.

Order your essay today and save 10% with the discount code ESSAYHELP