Purpose This paper seeks to critically examine the principles, mechanisms, and critical success factors of developmental peer review as a way to promote reflection and change in organizations.Designmethodologyapproach This paper calls developmental peer review the structured, managed, and collaborative process whereby reputable others are invited into an organisation to provide feedback and offer guidance on organisational change and improvement. In the paper, the authors use the example of developmental peer review in UK local government both to foreground some of the distinctive aspects of the methodology and to identify some of its critical conditions of use.Findings The paper argues that this type of initiative often coexists with a more judgemental inspectionoriented double. The institutional framework that surrounds developmental peer review makes it therefore both a powerful and delicate tool. There is a need in this initiative to maintain a dynamic balance to avoid either coercion or collusion in review.Practical implications In order to achieve its potential, peer review needs to be clearly framed and constructed as a developmental initiative. In the paper, a number of suggestions of how to do so are offered. If doubts exist on the nature of the exercise, it is likely that people will interpret it as a form of inspection and react defensively, reducing its capacity to trigger learning and transformation.Originalityvalue This paper advances knowledge and understanding about developmental peer review, by drawing on the relevant literature and also analysing a prevalent form of such review in current use in local government organizations in England and Wales.
Journal of Organizational Change Management – Emerald Publishing
Published: Apr 5, 2011
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