A new framework for managing
J.S. Oakland and S.J. Tanner
Research & Education Division, Oakland Consulting plc, Leeds, UK
Purpose – Experience shows many change initiatives fail to deliver. They are not always a total
failure, but they get stalled, misdirected, or only partially achieve the required results. The main
purpose of the research reported in this paper was to examine the apparent gap between often-seen
approaches and “best practice”, the output being a helpful framework to support future initiatives.
This led to an Organisational Change Framework being developed, based on the experience of many
Design/methodology/approach – In total, 28 organisations, from a variety of industries including
the public sector, were interviewed to gain their insights on how to manage change successfully. The
research, which was conducted over a six-month period, examined a number of themes covering the
triggers for change, planning for change, and implementing change. The forces for change, as
experienced by the respondents, were also captured.
Findings – A number of insights were identiﬁed through the research. The research showed that
successful change focuses on both strategic and operational issues. The key link between the strategic
objectives and operational improvement is the core processes, which need to be understood, measured
and improved. If the link is broken, then the change is ineffective.
Originality/value – The research led to the deﬁnition of two main constructs of change
management: readiness for change and implementing change.
Keywords Organizational change, Change management, Organizational processes, Strategic objectives
Paper type Research paper
Brown and Eisenhardt (1998), who wrote the best selling book Competing on the Edge,
noted that developing technology, the changing needs of stakeholders and economic
pressures all contribute to the need for organisations worldwide to signiﬁcantly modify
the way they do things. Major organisational change requires huge investments in
energy, time and resources, but Oakland’s own experience has shown that many
change programmes fail to meet expectations. Published estimates of success levels
can be as low as 10 per cent, although other authors often quote a 30 per cent success
rate as an average from organisations’ experiences.
The literature is full of models and frameworks offering solutions. Research by Bain
& Company revealed that, having employed more than three new tools or techniques
annually for the previous ﬁve years, the typical company was planning to adopt
another 3.7 in the coming 12 months. As succinctly put by Schaffer and Thompson
The current issue and full text archive of this journal is available at
The authors would like to thank all the respondents who gave their time to provide the
questionnaire responses. For conﬁdentiality reasons the respondents have not been identiﬁed
individually, but a list of the organisations they represent has been included in the Appendix. We
would also like to thank Dr Mary Davies and Ms Fiona Duffy for conducting the interviews, and
Dr Joachim Bauer for the independent analysis of the responses.
q Oakland Consulting plc
The TQM Magazine
Vol. 19 No. 6, 2007
Emerald Group Publishing Limited