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sustaining a major process of
change. The \ufb01 ndings build on
the work of others who have
so ably demonstrated the
in\ufb02uence of powerful leaders. Research is based on qualita- tive data from an
structural changes can be
implemented in parallel with
soft symbolic and political
changed from outright objection to over t sup- port of their unit gaining self-managing Trust status. These consultants had begun to own
have so ably demonstrated the in\ufb02uence of powerful leaders (Tushman and Romanelli, 1985) or new chief executives (Grinyer and Spen der, 1979; Slatter, 1984). Alth ou gh th is
claim that one man, or even the management team, transfor med the organization, but that a new CEO and senior team actively, persis- tently and consistently sought to bring about
any moves towards Trust status. Change to Trust status represented a counter-cultural invasive force that was alien to the \u201clocal
during this research exercise, including the consultants themselves. For the CEO it was merely the tangible manifestation of a more
This paper further explores the importance of context and builds on more recent research on th e sym bolic (Bate, 1994; J oh n son , 1990)
and political roles of leadership. Hence this
paper suggests that the softer, more symbolic
and less tangible, aspects of leadership are
every bit as impor tant in securing speedy
to the data collecting process was a series of 20 semi-structured interviews with an array of personnel from the Trust hospital.
domestic staff, por ters, executive and non- executive board members, the deputy chief executive and other senior and middle
organizational power. Some of the data, in the for m of respondents\u2019 discourse, is reproduced in this paper to help tell the story.
The processes outlined in this paper unfolded in the wider context of NHS change. The NHS refor ms have stimulated considerable
agement and infor mation systems, the politi- cal-managerial and professional-managerial interfaces, and NHS structures, systems,
agers in the NHS generally have been positive about the changes. Manifestations of manage- rialism abound: strategic planning systems,
Pollitt and Har r ison, 1992; Talbot, 1994). NHS managers, as opposed to clinicians and trade unionists, are seen as the bene\ufb01ciaries of
senior management executive. Business man- agers were introduced to each directorate and a small senior management team appointed
facilitate the achievement of operational and
strategic objectives. Financial systems, annual
planning cycles, inter nal tracking systems,
administrative systems and \ufb01nancial methods were upgraded to cope with the inter nal mar- ket and subsequent Trust status. They enabled the organization to cope with and prosper in
more collaborative and less coercive (Dunphy and Stace, 1988) style than is often the case in many organizations. The CEO engaged in a great deal of discussion at an early stage and particularly involved individuals and groups who held both for mal and infor mal power.
an effusive and out-going personality, which
was, initially at least, aimed at gaining accep-
tance of the need for change.
stage a consultant commented that \u201cthis was the \ufb01rst time we had been engaged in discus- sion of this nature\u201d. Collective action was
not-negotiable. On 1 Apr il 1991 you would be delivering!\u201d. He consciously heightened this sense of impending crisis while instilling
con\ufb01dence that \u201cwe\u201d were competent to man-
age the required changes. Use was made of
such phrases as \u201cgo under\u201d, \u201cwe will not
refor ms. He argues: \u201cI used that ever-decreas- ing time frame as an opportunity to legitimize my discussions\u201d, and he admits to \u201ccon-
exclusively, focused on senior consultants and other senior and middle managers in the orga- nization. His aim was clear to ensure that \u201cthe road was clear for us to introduce the
change process and the discussions with con- sultants and managers and establish the man- agement team, not as the source of the demand for change, but as the body of exper ts who
The organization coped well with the intro- duction of the inter nal market, so that after 1 April 1991 \u201cwe were able to congratulate our- selves\u201d. This \u201csm all win\u201d (Weick, 1979) served to reinforce the change process. There then
This teasing out of ideas and the process of
gaining ownership of strategy were opera-
tionalized alongside the hard structural and
\u201cwould act as their assistants\u201d and help them with day-to-day administrative responsibili- ties. Couching this in ter ms of \u201cassistance\u201d and relieving them of tiresome administra-
tion seemed to reduce the sense of prevailing managerialism which many medical person- nel resent. Another structural change which addressed the political issues that sur round change was the decision to make the medical directors (the lead consultant in each of 12
agenda\u201d, a consensual approach was usually adopted. Nevertheless, as one consultant put it, \u201cthe management team was a forum in
occasions when the CEO gave way to collec- tive consultant opinion, although he argued that these were of symbolic value in
signalling his desire to gain collective owner- ship of the strategic organizational processes. One senior manager argued that the
approach taken and the range of tactics out- lined above \u201clocked people in to the strategic management and change processes\u201d.
argued, \u201cvery useful\u201d. T hey helped legitim ize the change process and the discussions with consultants and m anagers and establish the m anagem ent team , not as the source of the dem and for change, but as the body of experts who could provide the solutions\u2026\u2019
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