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Implementing technology and organisational based change at Tasmania Police: - A case study.


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Ellis, L 2009 , 'Implementing technology and organisational based change at Tasmania Police: - A case study.', PhD thesis, University of Tasmania.

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This thesis presents a case study into change management strategies utilised by
Tasmania Police in the implementation of technology related projects during a ten year
period (1998 to 2008). The role and impact of technology in and on approaches to
organisational change management has become the focus of increasing debate amongst
both academics and practitioners (Markus, 2004). While numerous theories, models and
approaches exist that have been developed from organisational experiences, few of
them are based on organisational case studies specifically examining the relationships
over time between approaches to organisational change management and technology
implementations. This research contributes to these debates through analysis of a case
study at Tasmania Police. As a hierarchical command-control type organisation with a
tradition of top down management this case study also considers the role organisational
structure and culture has on approaches to organisational change management and
technology implementations. The case study at Tasmania Police was based on the analysis of four projects that were
developed directly as a result of a major business process re-engineering exercise
(BATON) initiated in 1997. BATON developed and promoted an over-arching change
management strategy and the use of information and communications technology as the
major driver for its implementation of organisational change within Tasmania Police.
The four projects were selected to specifically investigate the relationships between the
implementation of technologies to drive change and the change management strategies
utilised. To explore the sustainability of these relationships and overcome the potential
limitations of case studies conducted over a single period of time, a two phase approach
requiring a second period of research at Tasmania Police was adopted.
The research methodology was underpinned by a subjective ontology and an
interpretative epistemology. The strategy adopted a two phase approach requiring data
collection and analysis at two time points during the ten year period. The research
design uses four technology related projects as a vehicle to study the change
management process. During phase one, drawing on tools from ethnography, the
researcher became a participant-observer. Data was collected through observations, informal interviews, activity monitoring and participation in work with the project
teams and change management coordinators over a two year period.
Drawing on principles of grounded theory, data analysis of the four projects was
conducted iteratively using thematic coding. This analysis led to the generation of six
themes identifying eleven factors illustrating the relationships between organisational
change management and technology implementations. In particular the analysis
highlighted that Tasmania Police relied on informal communication practices and trust
networks (as distinct from their hierarchical organisational and governance structures)
to achieve change. The analysis also highlighted the capacity for technology to be
significant as both an agent and object change that required adaption and flexibility in
change management strategies. Interpretation of phase one data suggested that
Tasmania Police was an organisation that appeared to fit with conventional models of
change management in the literature.
Phase two involved a second period of data collection and analysis aimed specifically at
exploring the sustainability of relationships between organisational change management
and technology implementations identified in phase one. Phase two data collection
coincided with a Tasmania Police three year business planning exercise that
incorporated a review of their change management and technology approaches. The
research design utilised the outputs from phase one to generate a interview question
frame that was used to investigate the current status of organisational change
management and technology implementation. The interviews were conducted with
members of the business project unit, senior management and change agents.Interview
analysis revealed differences in the relationships and approaches adopted by Tasmania
Police over time. Phase two analysis also highlighted how new factors had emerged
that directly impacted on the organisational approach to technology initiated change.
Interpretation of phase two highlighted how the initial perspectives on Tasmania Police
were re-configured and transformed over time. Based on the evidence presented in this
case study, the role of technology in and on approaches to organisational change
management does require a higher level of sophistication of both project management
and change management than had previously been considered necessary within the
literature. This thesis contributes to an enhanced understanding of the implementation phase of technology-based change. This Tasmania Police case study suggests that for
hierarchical organisations informal communication networks are critical and flexibly
combining elements of change management and project management is required to
accommodate technology as both object and potential agent of organisational

Item Type: Thesis - PhD
Authors/Creators:Ellis, L
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