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FOUR ORGANIZATIONAL PERSPECTIVES AND

IMPLEMENTATION OF PLANNED CHANGE IN THE PAKISTANI


PUBLIC SECTOR

BY

GHULAM MUSTAFA

HEC SCHOLAR UNIVERSITY OF BERGEN NORWAY


TABLE OF CONTENTS

1.0 INTRODUCTION ................................................................................................... 1

2.0 RATIONAL APPROACH........................................................................................3

3.0 EXPLOITATIVE APPROACH...............................................................................7

4.0 POLITICAL APPROACH……...............................................................................10

5.0 SYMBOLIC APPROACH. .................................................................................... 14

6.0 DISCUSSION...………………… ............................................................................ 16

7.0 CONCLUSION……………………......................................................................... 18

8.0 REFERENCES.....….................................................................................................18

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1.0 Introduction
Theories play a vital role in all kinds of research. They guide research, help the
researcher to comprehend and analyze phenomena, and provide a foundation for
prediction (Schensul, & LeCompte, 1999). In their most basic sense, they determine
which actions and events the researcher will focus on. From a qualitative research point
of view, Humphrey and Scapens (1996) define a theory as a “means of interpreting or
making sense of a complex and uncertain social world.
When conducting a study the researcher has the liberty of either drawing on preordained
theories, developing a theoretical framework using a variety of theoretical perspectives or
building a new theory during the study based on the analysis of data collected. Layder
(1998) notes that most research contains elements of theory testing and theory
construction. Some scholars argue that preordained theories can be more robust because
they have already been tested on prior occasions. Notwithstanding, there are limitations
to using such an approach. For instance, preordained theories or propositions may bias or
limit the findings. Glaser and Strauss (1967) state,” Some theories of our predecessors,
because of their lack of grounding in data, do not fit, or do not work, or are not
sufficiently understandable to be used and are therefore useless in research, theoretical
advance and practical application.”
A second way is to use the grounded theory approach, which relies on constant
comparison and analysis of data to build complex theories that closely resemble the data.
Similar to using the preordained theory approach, this approach requires the researcher to
test and retest theoretical concepts and hypotheses to ensure a coherent representative
model is developed. One of the acknowledged advantages of this approach is that the
theories developed can capture the particular conditions surrounding the phenomenon of
study (Strauss & Corbin, 1994). The method has been criticized on several levels. First,
some scholars argue that the researcher cannot enter the field without some kind of
theory, which suggests that there is not a theory that is capable of being built up from
data alone, and that all theories are developed based on pre-existing theories (Boston,
2000). Second, the approach has come under criticism because few researchers
understand how to develop coherent frameworks from their data. As a result, incoherent

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frameworks are developed that are not easily understood by other academics and are thus
limited in their explanatory power (Layder, 1994).
One way to overcome the limitations from adopting a preordained theory or a grounded
theory approach is to bring multiple theories into the study. This approach, the theory
triangulation approach, is built on the notion that the use of a single theory or perspective
produces a restricted view of organizational reality. Layder (1998) argues that through
the use of several theories one can build a framework in the course of the study drawing
on the relevant ideological assumptions of each of the theories, and any additional
evidence noted in the study. This allows the researcher to build and modify existing
theories using data generated in their study so that the resulting explanation more closely
resembles the data.
The organizational change is a complex process and it entails alteration of values, beliefs,
and rituals (Schein, 1987). Some researchers suggest using several models or categories,
as each sheds light on different aspects of organizational life (Poole, 2004). The
advantage to multiple models is that they combine the insights of various approaches.
Theory triangulation will, therefore, offer significant benefits over its counterparts in the
study of implementation of planned organizational change in the public sector
organizations.
Four organizational approaches outlined by Thomas (2003) illustrate how assumptions
from rational, exploitative, political and symbolic models can be combined to understand
the complex phenomenon of implementation of change in public organizations. The
author uses a four-frame model (rational, exploitative, political and symbolic), indicating
that the same situation can be viewed in at least four different ways. Each of these frames
is peculiar, lucid, and powerful, yet when taken together, they help capture a
comprehensive picture of an organization’s situation. These four management
perspectives are believed to offer greater explanatory power than applying a single
preordained theory or building a new theory directly from data analysis. These frames
can be used to spot the impact of intra-organizational factors and dynamics in
implementation of public sector change in Pakistan and the role of public mangers
therein.

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2.0 Rational Approach
The rational approach views management as the rational administration of unitary
organizations. This view depicts organizations as social technologies systematically
designed in order to attain specific goals. The manger acts as an applied scientist or as a
technician whose principal task is to take rational steps, in the light of established
knowledge, to achieve efficiency and effectiveness (Thomas, 2003). This frame views
outcomes or decisions as the planned and calculated choices that will maximize some
function.
Classical rational model of decision-making assumes that managers as decision-makers
know all the alternatives for dealing with a problem, that they know the utilities and
values of all alternatives, and that they have an ordered preference among all alternatives.
The goals, values and objectives of the mangers decision-making classified and ranked
according to their importance. The various alternatives for dealing with a particular
problem along with the consequences that follow from the selection of each alternative
are investigated. Finally, the manager chooses an alternative for maximizing
organizational goals, values and objectives.
The limitation of goal-rational analysis has long been evident in management thought.
The most famous correction of the economists’ rational actor is undoubtedly that of
Simon (1976). He focuses on the limits of human capabilities, both with regard to the
individual’s ability to rationalize, as well as the (personal, social, or organizational) costs
of following a rational strategy. This results in his concept of “bounded rationality”;
people do not strive for a maximum result, rather, they are satisfied with a sub-optimal
situation because of the costs of meeting their aspirations and abilities. Despite Simon’s
rejection of the unrealistic assumptions of the economists’ rational actor, he retains the
basic criterion of goal-rationality (Rutgers, 1999). Thus, bounded rationality fails to
recognize that many rational choice situations are indeterminate and that rational choice
can result in irrationality. Simon could not completely divorce himself from the scientific
paradigm, however, for recognizing that ‘rational’ man was a myth he nevertheless
measured man’s performance according to rational criteria.
The hypothesis of the bounded rationality is that human rationality cannot map all
environmental variables, create all the deriving alternatives, scan them, and then select

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the optimal option. In other words, if we are not able to maximize, we can only make an
approximation to the optimal option. Therefore, individuals with bounded rationality
reach satisfying results, i.e. they can only approximate the optimal result that is not
antagonistic to the concept of rational choice. Here the role of search mechanisms is
crucial. Individual decision-making is based on seeking alternatives, and selecting them
on the basis of a definite set of values. The metaphor Simon uses in order to explain this
kind of searching is the decision tree, where each alternative is expressed by a payoff. In
principle this mode of decision making is in accordance with the essence of the
traditional rational model and no way is a deviation from the tenets of the approach.
Simon places great emphasis on the distinction between substantive and procedural
rationality. According to substantive rationality, the rational character of decision-making
is concerned with the result one could get following the appropriate actions. Whereas
procedural rationality points out the procedure and the process by which people make
decisions. According to Simon, bounded rationality belongs to the latter category,
because it does not look only at the result one could get, but at the way people make
decisions (Simon, 1976). In contrast, the traditional model of rationality mixes the two
aspects. The model is based on variable maximization (procedure), where we obtain the
only possible appropriate behavior as a result (substantive). As mentioned, both the
traditional and the bounded rationality model can be viewed as examples of procedural
rationality. In addition, from this procedural perspective, differences seem to disappear.
The result the so-called optimum is closely connected to the way through which it is
achieved.
Edwards (2001) suggests a model for policy development that identifies the steps: define
problem, articulate problem, collect relevant data and information, clarify objectives and
resolve key questions, develop options and proposals, undertake consultation, move
towards decisions, implement and evaluate. This model consists of a series of sequential
steps which guides policy development — both content of policy and process. Indeed,
this model is not dissimilar to the rational decision-making model questioned by Simon
(1955) and Lindblom (1959).
Interestingly, rationality remains the more structuring reference point in the
organizational literature on decision-making, in spite of the permanent attempts of

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researchers to escape its influence in their description and analysis of decision processes.
Laroche (1995) points out the difficulty decision researchers have in escaping from the
rational view on decisions and the very strong attractiveness of ‘rationality’. Indeed,
integrative models of decision-making, even when they try to account for unstructured or
non rational processes tend to reproduce stages of rational decision making processes.
Second, empirical studies of non-rational processes often acknowledge the presence of
some form of reason (or rationality) organizing or guiding decisions (Hickson, et al
1986). Finally, the cognitive perspective in strategy could also be interpreted as a
revitalization of a ‘rational’ perspective on decisions ((Walsh 1995).
The role of social factors and the political perspective on decision-making (e.g., Allison
1971) indeed tends to over-focus research on social factors to the detriment of the
technical organizational sphere. Although some previous research, such as Feldman and
March (1981) have studied the formal analysis in organizations and highlighted the
different roles they play (e.g. information, communication, control/direction and
symbolic), most organizational researchers solely focused on their symbolic role and
downplayed the technical functions they performed. However, technological artefacts can
strongly shape decision-making processes, framing and supporting managers’ decision-
making as they do for other organizational phenomena (Trist & Bramforth, 1951).
Moreover, the contemporary technological changes create a situation where it becomes
virtually possible to reconstruct extended forms of rationalities for decision-making.
Rational decision theory has been progressively commodified to be incorporated into
services and tools that are exchanged on consulting. Experts on decision-making,
practitioners, consultants and researchers, construct rational decision-making tools. Since
following the decision analysis procedure is indeed anything but a spontaneous
procedure, decision analysts engaged in the development of a series of tools to help
managers to decompose decision problems according to the premises of decision theory.
All these tools could consequently contribute to reconstruct rational decision-making
within organizations by putting mangers in a context similar to the one described
theoretically by the rational choice approach. They ensure that decisions can be based on
subjective judgments about the likelihoods and the desirability of the consequences
(Keeney, 1982) and therefore allow the manager to choose the alternative that maximizes

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his/her expected utility (Pratt et al. 1964). Consequently, rational decision-making cannot
be conceived as evolving in a ‘normative bubble’ completely separated from
organizations.
Under this approach, the change process starts with the designation of clear goals and
objectives, and particular attention is given to the desired output of the organization, the
formal transformation process, and the related information processes. The
implementation process of planned change takes the form of a special project with a clear
course of action or strategy comprising clear-cut targets, and the most appropriate
alternatives (Kotter, 1995). Such a strategy serves as a roadmap for implementation of
change offering direction on how to arrive at the preferred state, identifying obstacles and
proposing measures for those obstacles. Change managers usually treat the change
process with an information-processing rationality or an economic-technological
rationality. Implementation of change is successful because decisions are made in a
predictable and highly structured situation where the problem is known, not too complex,
and a solution is within reach. Since the change managers choose the alternative that
maximizes expected utility and seek unitary goals for organizational efficiency and
effectiveness, no resistance to change initiatives is witnessed.
Riggs worked on decision making in developing societies and spotted faulty structures
for transmitting communications as a striking feature of such societies, which he believes
lead to poor change and policy plans and ineffective implementation. Other scholars
have pointed out that the difficulty of making rational calculations and choices in
developing countries is because of the unreliable available information and statistical
data. Certain others place emphasis on the inefficient bureaucracies and cultural ecology
of developing countries which, according to them, are not conducive to rationality.
Failure to implement administrative changes in many public agencies in Pakistan, in
addition to the aforementioned problems, can be ascribed to ill conceived change strategy
and coherent causal thinking about the linkage and the initiative to be implemented and
the desired outcomes.

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3.0 Exploitative Approach
The exploitative perspective of management originates in the Marxian theory of
exploitation. The Marxist theory is primarily concerned with the exploitation of an entire
segment or class of society by another. This kind of exploitation is seen as being an
inherent feature and key element of capitalism and free markets. In the Marxist view, the
capital is in a dominant position, as a social rather than a physical economic category, to
extract surplus value from labor.
The workers are exploited in the sense that they lose the full value of the productive
labor. The value of the wages paid to the workers is not equal to the value of the
commodities they produce, so there is a surplus value that is appropriated by the
capitalists. Marxists have utilized a technical definition of exploitation. This technical
definition is based upon the labor theory of value. The labor theory of value states,
roughly, that the exchange-value (that is, the market price) of an object is a function of
the amount of labor time socially necessary to produce that object. Thus, the value of the
products marketed by capitalist enterprises is created by the labor of the workers who
produced them. The workers are paid a wage in exchange for their labor, but the
enterprises make a profit from the sale of its products. Since the value of the product is
due to the worker, the source of that profit must be the expropriation of surplus value by
the capitalist. Since the worker receives less than the full value of his labor, he is
exploited.
Workers are literally enslaved to the machine. Owing to the extensive use of machinery
and to division of labor, the job of the worker loses all individual character, and
consequently, all charm for the workman. The increasingly mechanical and boring nature
of work is a state of alienation. The capitalist system is, therefore, one in which the
relationship between the employers and employees is basically hostile. This because the
workers labor, in essence, is always remains forced labor. Work is organized entirely
according to criteria of efficiency without regard to the well being of the worker. Thomas
(2003) argues that such a system generates resistance to the demands of capitalist and
antagonism between employees and employers but this conflict is not always overtly
expressed.

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The exploitative view looks at organizations as an industrial army of workmen, under the
command of a capitalist, requires, like a real army, officers (managers) exercise authority
on behalf of the capitalist during the labor process. The work of supervision becomes
their established and exclusive function. Managers, on the one hand must continually
seek to develop and implement more efficient production processes that will enable the
organization to survive in the competitive struggle. On the other; it must continually
secure the compliance of work force that is alienated from the system (Thomas, 2003). In
the capitalist system the management function is to exploit labor power to the maximum
in order to secure profits for the owners of the capital. Management is not a neutral
administrative function to embody the interests of all the organization’s stakeholders but
a representative and exploitative one chiefly concerned with keeping the lid on a
fundamentally volatile smoldering system. Mangers are thus engaged in the maintenance
of power and advantage inherent to the structure of capitalist society.
The contributions of Brveman (1974) played a crucial role in giving prominence to the
neglected aspects of Marx’s work. The focus of Braverman is the processes allegedly
leading to the degradation of work, particularly scientific management as espoused by
Frederick Taylor. Scientific management, according to Braverman, is the manifestation
of the logic of capitalism in the monopoly era. This theory, he argues, is nothing less than
the explicit expression of the capitalist mode of production whose fundamental teachings
have become the basis of all work design.
Braveman (1974) argues that management under capitalism contains logic of deskilling
manifested in Taylorism. This involves a two fold process of job fragmentation and the
progressive separation of conception from execution in the process of production.
Management exercises full control over the knowledge and design of the production
process while workers perform increasingly routine, fragmented tasks without
understanding the principles underlying the production process. Each step of the labor
process is broken down into its simplest elements and it is the domain of the management
to determine the most efficient method of performing the task and provide detailed
instructions which workers would follow unquestioningly.
Braveman views control over labor as the fundamental problem of management in a
capitalist system. With regard to labor processes control is sought by many means,

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initially by subjecting the employees to close supervision and by prescribing detailed
rules and regulations. The control mechanism is further intensified by separating planning
and execution. Management as the sole incumbent of planning conceives and plans, and
workforce with craft skills, execute the conception. This allows management to
supervise and control the labor force in a systematic manner.
Richard Edwards (1979) and Friedman (1977), two exponents of the Marxist perspective
have further enriched the concept of management control enunciated by Braveman.
Friedman (1977) agrees that employees can be subject to forms of direct control such as
Taylorism, but argues that there may be limitations to direct control that ca be partially
counteracted by introducing policies of responsible autonomy for sections of the
workforce. This is not simply a facade to cover Taylorist practices, which was
Braverman’s view of job re-design approaches, but rather attempts to harness the
adaptability of labor power by giving workers leeway and encouraging them to adapt to
changing situations in a manner beneficial to the firm. Richard Edwards (1979) posits
secular trend in control strategies from the "simple control" characteristic of small
workplaces to "technical control" in which management seeks to use the control
capabilities of machinery and technological innovations such as assembly lines, to the
"bureaucratic control" found in the long career ladders and elaborate rule books.
In this perspective, the management excludes human resource component with emphasis
on close supervision and monitoring of the employee performance. There is a clear
demarcation between conception and execution i.e. management possesses scientific,
technical and generalist management skills and employees are deliberately confined to
some craft skills. Managers in alliance with the owners/shareholders reap the benefits of
the capital and employees are dispossessed of economics incentives. Decision making is
based on the exclusion of work force and the one-sided realization of interests of
management and shareholders. When individuals or groups in the organization realize
that their interests are not being served by those who are in control, a sense of antagonism
is created for the organizational change initiatives. Actions taken to challenge the
domination or to question the proposals of management to change the organization are
seen as resistance (Hardy & Clegg, 1996). Implementation of change under such a design
approach fails or experience difficulties with the realization of goals (Boonstra & Vink,

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1996). These problems partly arise because employees who are at the centre of any
implementation process are highly de-motivated and fail to develop organizational
citizenship.
The relationship between superior and subordinates in the Pakistani bureaucracy is a
close reflection of assumptions of the labor process theory. Management keeps distance
with employees and subjects them to close supervision through different structural tools.
There is a big gap between the remunerations of the officers and the lower rank
employees. Only officials of middle management level and above are supposed to enjoy
government perks and privileges. Civil servants in the officer cadre are always concerned
about the pleasure of the bosses and pay no heed to the interests of the sub-ordinate
employees. Employees of non managerial cadre are totally deskilled and they are
restricted to execute the orders of their superiors like mechanical tools. All skill and
capacity building trainings are officer specific. Government employees in non-managerial
ranks have been excluded from all sorts of government funded trainings like national
strategic training, national executive training, national management training and
professional development program. A culture like this testifies the Braveman’s
assumption of employee deskilling and clear distinction between conception and
execution. Planned change programs are therefore unlikely to get success because a
culture of high power distance, lack of human element and absence of economic equity
denies equal roles for superiors and subordinates in setting and achieving the
organizational goals. This leads to an inequitable work environment and spreads an
impression among the employees that the change process is solely based on sectional
ends of the managers and policy makers, and they are merely exploited as mechanical
tools.

4.0 Political Approach


Under political frame, organizations appear as arenas, contests, or jungles. Different
interest groups compete for scarce resources and power, producing conflict among
individuals and groups. Bargaining, negotiation, coercion, and compromise are part of
everyday political life in traditional organizations (Thomas, 2003).

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One major implication of the idea of bounded rationality is the acknowledgement of
different individual preferences for goals and means within organizations. This suggests
that in the decision-making process, factors related to power, influence and politics also
play a role. March (1962, in Buchanan & Huczynski, 2004) viewed corporations as
political coalitions and criticized rational models for failing to take into account
individual agendas and preferences within organizations. More recent political models of
organizations have questioned the assumptions of organizational rationality and
addressed the more or less formal process of negotiation between individuals or
departments over the goals to pursue and the appropriate means for pursuing them
(Hatch, 1997). The influence processes enacted to defend these multiple interests have
been labeled as “organizational politics”.
Pfeffer (1981) defined organizational politics as “activities taken within the
organizations to acquire, develop, and use power and other resources to obtain one’s
preferred outcomes in a situation where there is uncertainty or dissensus about choices.”
Explaining the relationship between power and politics, Pfeffer (1992) defined power as
“the ability to influence behavior, to change the course of events, to overcome resistance,
and to get people to do things that they would not otherwise do”, whilst politics are “the
processes, the actions, the behaviors through which this potential power is utilized and
realized”. Butcher and Clarke (2002) argue that organizational politics constitute the
cornerstone for organizational democracy by allowing the expression of multiple
individual and group goals, developed under the umbrella of common corporate goals.
Drory and Romm (1990) highlighted three defining elements of organizational politics:
influence, informal means and conflict. Having a similar approach, Buchanan and
Badham (2007) also point out five defining features of organizational politics: influence,
self-interest, damage, backstage and conflict. In a similar manner, Allen et al. (1979)
define organizational politics as “intentional acts of influence to enhance or protect the
self-interest of individuals or groups”. They identify several political tactics used by
managers: attacking or blaming the others, strategic use of information, impression
management, support building for ideas, ingratiation, coalition building, associating with
influential, and creating obligation. Influence is thus one salient aspect mentioned
unanimously in the literature about political behaviors. Mintzberg (1983) considers

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organizational politics to be influence techniques within a broader repertoire of
organizational influence systems such as authority, expertise and ideology.
A number of theories in literature have emerged as possible analytical tools for
understanding and conceptualizing issues of organizational power and politics. These
approaches suggest that there are two ways that a researcher can conceptualize power: (1)
that which stems from the individual; and (2) that which is explained by direct attention
to conflict and domination. The view that an individual can possess power and use that
power to negotiate a consensus underpins the interpretive and functional perspectives
such as the resource dependence perspective (Pfeffer, 1981). On the other hand, the view
that society is rife with conflict and modes of domination and the disbelief in a consensus
view of society accords with critical perspectives such as (Foucault ,1978; and Habermas
1976). It is acknowledged that such theories have the potential to make significant
contributions to our understanding of implementation of organizational change. the
research objectives of this study state that one objective of the proposed study is to
examine the role of the public mangers in the processes of planned change
implementation and to understand the ways that intra-organizational dynamics such as
power and politics influence the outcomes of change. This objective tallies with the
interpretative view of the power and politics.
This approach, views organizational processes influenced both by mutual harmonization
of parts of the system, and by the way power is structured and used. In organizations, the
distribution of power is characterized by stability. In organizations there is a balance of
power between the interests of individuals and of the interdependent groups. Sometimes
these interests are at odds, which can result in conflicting objectives, power games, and
controversies in decision making (Pfeffer, 1992). The tension between interest of
individuals and groups is viewed as inevitable and as a normal part of the way getting
things done (Pettigrew, 1973). The political view maintains that groups and departments
have to co-operate and that agreement between them is necessary for the functioning of
the organization and to warrant its continuity. The power process is characterized by
negotiation and exchange of resources. Some departments or subunits have more power
than others. Subunits become powerful when they contribute critical resources that the
organization needs. (Boeker, 1989). If the power of a subunit sustains and stabilized

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overtime by virtue of its ability to provide critical resources, the power of such subunit
becomes institutionalized in the power structure of the organization. Organizational
change processes are influenced by the institutionalization of power and the behavior of
interest groups in and around organizations (Mintzberg, 1983). Such stability allows
subunits for stable coalitions and control over scarce resources through shielding from
others. This enables them to resist any efforts to change the organization which is likely
to disturb the contours of existing power dynamics. In Pakistani public organizations,
certain subunits have more control over scarce organizational resources and stabilize their
power over time. They even sometimes develop their own goals at odds with those of
their parent agency. Such a situation may become detrimental to the effective
implementation of any change effort.
The political view recognizes that power and politics pervade organizational dynamics
and impact upon organizational effectiveness. Politics can affect the way the object of
change is determined. For managers, an examination of the pervasiveness of
organizational politics, power and conflict is warranted if rationality and instrumentalism
are insufficient to define the organizational behavior. Such an examination is instructive
about how things get done in the workplace, why some things are resisted, and who
makes things happen.
The implementation of change under the political approach is characterized by conflict
management and negotiation. All interest groups play their roles in the change process,
based on their power, resources and interests. Resistance to change is seen as a result of
the exercise of power and can be understood as a struggle to achieve power or to escape
from it. The managers focus on preventing conflict in the change process by regulating
participation of the groups involved. They examine the organizational stakeholders to
determine those that might support or block a change effort. Positive outcomes are
predicted to parties who accept the change. Negotiations are directed at smoothing
opposition. Management usually possesses a considerable amount of position and
personal power. It can use these power bases to win conflicts and to strengthen their
position in the negotiation process. This increases the chance that their interests are
realized at the expense of the interests of other parties involved in the change process.

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For effective implementation of any change initiative, mangement must develop and
nurture support from major stake holders and organizational members. The level of
influence an actor wields to manage conflict and win support is not fully determined by
his position in the vertical hierarchy because much of the power emanates from informal
sources. Managers having diagnosed the political landscape, the relevant interests and
important political divisions use the strategies and tactics to manipulate the behavior of
organizational members (Pfeffer, 1992). In the public sector of Pakistan, public managers
do not tend to consider intra-organization dynamics of power and politics. Development
of internal support is given less importance to implement change programs; rather public
mangers are inclined to use structural methods to effect execution.

5.0 Symbolic Approach


Symbolic frame focuses on organizational symbols rather than on rules, policies, and
formal organizational structure. The symbolic focus is on the meanings individuals give
their world, and how they deal with ambiguity and uncertainty by creating symbols to
help them resolve confusion, increase predictability, provide direction, and anchor hope
and faith. Many events are more significant for what they express than for their
outcomes. The image of management derived from this view is that of uncertainty
reduction and manager as magician or priest (Thomas, 2003).
Symbols are objects, acts, relationships, or linguistic formations that stand ambiguously
for a multiplicity of meanings, evoke emotions, and impel men to action (Cohen, 1974).
Symbols may be visible, physical manifestations of organizations and indicators of
organizational life. Symbols take on important meanings in organizations; meanings that
are defined by cultural and social conventions and interactions. Much of human
understanding occurs through the use of symbolic processes (Axley, 1984). A symbol can
be any sign (an act, event, logo, etc.) that represents some concept; thus, the
representation of the concept becomes the symbol's meaning (Geertz, 1973). The most
pervasive medium of symbolism is language. In particular, the use of metaphor, wherein
one concept is understood in terms of another concept already known.
To understand the shared systems of meaning that constructs organizational life and
provides its structure and vitality is to understand the reactions, interpretations, and

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actions of organizational members, and how those actions, thoughts, and feelings are
shaped by the collectivity. Such understanding is impossible without careful attention to
organizational symbols. Symbols are integral to organizational life. They are not simply
by-products of organization, but rather elements that structure members’ active
construction of sense, knowledge, and behavior (Rafaeli & Kluger, 1998).
In the symbolic approach to management, it is assumed that ideas, the definitions of
reality, and shared values are central features of organizing (Alvesson, 1996). Social
relations are characterized by language, communication, use of symbols, and definitions
of reality that serve as a foundation. Perceptions, cognitions, and preferences of
individuals and groups are shaped by culture that prevents them from seeing alternatives.
Thus, it seems that parties act out of free will and that conflict of interests is overcome.
Conflict does not arise, demands are not made, and managers appear as authorities to
whom employees voluntarily obey. Management fulfils a special role in these
unconscious power processes because it has the opportunity, more than others, to give
meaning to events and in doing so management contributes to the development of norms
and values in the organization. Pettigrew (1977) describes this as the management of
meaning, which refers to a process of symbol construction and value use designed both to
create legitimacy for one’s own demands. Management of meaning involves the ability to
define the reality of others. Thus, managers are seen as powerful agents creating shared
meanings, ideas, values, and reality through communication and the social construction
of meaning.
When people of an organization are called upon to enact some change in their existing
patterns of thinking and acting, the proposed change must make sense in a way that
relates to previous understanding and experience. Johnson (1990) believes that symbols
are central for successful outcome of a change, because they foster a sense of continuity
by integrating the familiar and the strange. Symbols and metaphors both conceal and
reveal facets of change. New symbols show members of the organization what the
proposed new culture will be like. Christensen, et al (2007) argues that use of deliberate
myths and symbols in public organizations may have an educative function for the
organizational members. The symbolic actions taken by management can have
consequences for the mobilization and motivation of support, for cooling off or placating

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opposition either inside or external to the organization, and for focusing and organizing
activity within the organization to effectively implement change. Pfeffer (1981) argues
that leaders should use symbols to signal to others what the leader's vision is for the
organization. In symbolic frame, such a representation on the part of managerial leaders
is deemed consecrated and it provides justification for the change initiative leading to a
potent execution.
When a new experience or concept is to be understood, it is done so by trying to ascribe
meaning to it, and the meaning is often most effectively grasped through symbolic or
metaphorical representation. Language symbols especially are basic to the process of
sense-making. In an organization where a change is intended, different symbolic
language is used as a precursor of change to sketch its likely features and nature. It is
believed that if managers are able to use such symbols and meanings to convey to their
subordinates that the change is legitimate and those employees believe that the change is
legitimate then resistance to the change will be limited (Hardy, 1991). Viewed from such
a perspective, those that are able to define the reality have considerable power over those
who accept the reality as their own (Bradshaw, 1998).
As noted earlier, use of deliberate symbols and myths in public sector organizations, like
their private sector counterparts, may play an educative function for the organizational
members. Use of symbolism confers legitimacy to the change efforts and gives a sense of
cohesion and collectiveness to the entire organizational membership. It dispels any
impression of seeking sectional ends by the management and ascribes unitary interests to
all change initiatives being led by the public managers. If mangers in the Pakistani public
sector incorporate symbolism through ceremonies, legends, story telling, rituals and use
of symbolic language in their change efforts and give meaning to the planned change by
linking it with the past and giving a vision for the future, implementation of change may
lead to successful results.
.
6.0 Discussion
In the proposed study, the above framework will focus on a number of aspects of planned
change implementation including the facilitating and impeding factors, intra-
organizational dynamics of power and politics, interests and values and the role public

18
mangers play. Clearly, all of these aspects can not be studied using a single theoretical
approach. The diversity of opinion in the literature suggests, however, that there may be
a danger in focusing on any one theory to the exclusion of others (Day and Klein 1992).
For instance, focus on the entity reifies the organization and overlooks the social
dynamics of relationships that impact on stasis and change. Conversely, a sole focus on
social relationships and dynamics of power and politics misses the organizational,
professional and personal boundaries, both implicit and explicit, within which
organizational action, in this case implementation of change, takes place.
As noted earlier rational approach relies on scientific calculation as the sole method for
producing valid knowledge which is downplayed by a number of writers in favor of
qualitative and organic methods of knowledge production that contextualize, deconstruct
and reveal workplace practices, attitudes, values and dynamics as a way of
acknowledging, incorporating and managing difference. Decision-making based on fact
implies that problems have technical solutions. Solutions may represent least-worst
alternatives to irresolvable problems, and involve moral and social justice dilemmas, such
as equity of resource allocation or equality of access to services that require value-based
judgment.
The exploitative approach see organizations as the means to exert control through
authority and hierarchy and the workforce is emphasized as an inanimate object and
discipline applied to achieve compliance with central objectives. This approach places no
importance in the employee well being, commitment and motivation and neglects an
imperative element in organizational change that is to know the interests of the people
who work in them, and incorporating these interests within the change process. A
symbolic view of organizations may run the danger of superficiality, if only the outer
layer of popular culture is affected and the inner core of attitudes, beliefs, values and
practice is left unaffected.
All of these views of organization are useful for analysis, but none alone is sufficient to
explain the types of factors that influence the outcome of planned organizational change
in the public sector organizations. An alternative approach is to assess the relevance of
each theoretical view. The approaches do not exclude each other but can be used in
combination in understanding the phenomenon of planned public sector change.

19
7.0 Conclusion
The intended study aims to understand the impact of intra organization factors and the
role of public mangers in implementation of planned organizational change in the public
sector of Pakistan. Thomas (2003) four management approaches will be chosen to inform
the findings. It is argued that the above four-frame model provides a suitable analytical
approach for understanding the study proposed here. Although no theory is capable of
providing a full explanation of organizational phenomenon, this framework provides a
useful analytical tool from which to focus the analysis of findings. Each of the theories
can be viewed as complementary; each offers a partial explanation for what is going on in
the organization while implementing a change program. Each perspective is chosen based
on its ability to provide a unique but practical explanation for different aspects of change
process.

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