Partnerships - cracking under the pressure of organisational change?
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AbstractThe concept of partnership and its success or failure has attracted much debate since its inception as a model in the early 1990s. It has become apparent that partnership can entail changing deeply held beliefs and attitudes on both the management and union sides of the relationship. The pace of change has increased exponentially in recent times, necessitating new organisational responses. These responses can be seen by some as sympathetic to the development of partnership work, but at the same time it is acknowledged that organisational change can become a pressure on partnership. The purpose of this research is to look at existing partnerships as they experience the pressures of organisational change over a period of time, and analyse the effect these pressures have on both managers and union representatives, the partnership itself, and the success of organisational change. Extrapolated from key literature, theoretical models were developed to demonstrate the changes in partnership. Using an explanatory causal comparative case study approach, across two organisations; the Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust; and the Royal Mail. The research uses primary and secondary data obtained through a series of semi-structured questionnaires completed by key leads involved in the partnership, on both the union and management sides; and study of academic and professional literature with a key focus on both partnerships in the subject organisations. The resulting data was analysed using a matrixed pattern matching technique. The research identifies that there are many influences involved in the deterioration, or stability of partnership: whether the approach to the creation of partnership is cynical or positive; whether management and union attitudes are allowed to deteriorate, or the partnership seeks for ways to overcome these pressures; the strength of the partnership does help it to endure, but there are contributing factors to this strength, such as the embedding of partnership, and equal voice to management. The research concludes that partnership does not necessarity deteriorate under the pressure of organisational change, but rather establishes that they can survive these pressures through a focused application of partnership strategy on both the management and union sides. The existing typologies for definition of the strengths of partnership were demonstrated to have neglected the wider more complex variables existing that make a partnership weak or strong, and rather that the theoretical models proposed, demonstrated a more valid theory of this complex environment and therefore could be said to demonstrate what occurs to partnerships enduring the pressures of organisational change, and therefore could be used for prediction purposes. It is suggested that this presents an opportunity for further research focused on the stability of partnership, utitising the validated models proposed herewith.
PublisherUniversity of Bedfordshire
DescriptionA dissertation submitted to the Business School of University of Bedfordshire, in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science in Human Resource Management
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