BPR and Organisational Culture
In recent years a number of highly publicised companies have successfully undertaken business process reengineering (BPR) in its true incarnation, involving total and radical redesign of their company along process lines. Other companies have apparently failed in their reengineering attempts, as many as 66% according to Andrews & Stalick, (1994, p28). Why then such disparity in these results?
Vidgen et al (1993), and others, suggest that BPR has suffered from an over-emphasis on structured analysis of the processes and too little on the softer people issues. In its full implementation, BPR involves new strategies, significant change to established organisational structures, to management style and to external relationships. Even more modest implementations involve significant change to established ways of working. Both these levels of changes included the tasks undertaken, the technology used, the skills of the staff, and the communications and relationships between people within the organisation.
This report explores an initial hypothesis that BPR involves significant organisational change and that managing the change process must therefore be critical to the success of such undertakings with all its major ramifications. In particular the role of organisational culture within the change process is explored. These explorations are initially conducted using a search of the literature and this is followed by a small primary research exercise into a particular hypothesis and issue arising.
Within the context of BPR:
These objectives to be achieved through:
Given the hypothesis that BPR involves significant organisational change then one would expect BPR to impact all the dimensions of an organisation. McKinsey's 7 S model (see Henley, 1991) provides a generic model of organisations. The report will explore this model in detail later, but note for now that the 7 S model has Shared Values at its heart, and as will be shown later, Shared Values are a significant dimension of culture. If BPR has significant impact on all of the other 6 dimensions then it would be reasonable to conclude, 1) that BPR involves significant organisational change; and 2), that it has a significant impact on, or dependency on, organisational culture.
A review of the literature on organisational culture within the context of significant change will seek to identify an organisational culture model or models. Such models should identify the key dimensions of organisational culture and act as a reference for assessing the possible role or roles of culture within a BPR implementation. A field survey of culture and BPR should aim to test the conclusions, hypothesis, questions or issues arising. from the literature review.
The structure of this paper follows the above methodology:
Chapter 2 defines what BPR is, relates it to the 7 S model, and draws conclusions as to the impact of BPR on organisations, and in particular, on organisational culture.
Chapter 3 then defines what organisational culture is, its importance within significant organisational change, and highlights some of the problems of defining and measuring culture.
Chapter 4 brings BPR and organisational culture together and draws conclusions as to importance and role of culture within BPR. It looks at how BPR proponents have defined culture and its role, as well as looking at some of the counter arguments of the antagonists. Recent research into BPR failures is summarised and finally an issue is identified for primary research.
Chapter 5 defines the Terms of Reference for the research including the scope, target organisations, methodology and instruments to be used, together with their possible limitations and influences that might impact the validity of the findings. It also reports on the variance between the planned and actual research exercise.
Chapter 6 reports on the findings of the research. Chapter 7 summarises this investigative project and identifies areas of possible further research, whilst Chapter 8 draws some conclusions. The dissertation report ends with appendices and bibliography.
To Chapter 2 BPR
[Front Page] [Executive
[Content] [1 Introduction]
[2 BPR] [3 Culture]
[4 BPR & Culture]
[5 Preliminary Research] [6 Findings] [7 Summary] [8 Conclusions] [Appendices] [Bibliography]
Original report: January 1995 This page created: June 1998 © Managing Change 1995,96,97,98 www.managingchange.com
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