Chapter 14 Organisational obstinacy: a case study from a large UK metropolitan authority that provides a new model of paradigm change
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Based on the findings of a longitudinal action research programme that stretched over 7 years, this chapter examines the fundamental organisational challenges facing the public sector when seeking paradigmatic change. The programme built a new leadership capacity containing a creative hub within which a new understanding of leadership across the whole organisation was encouraged. However, despite a vibrant and inclusive energy being generated that challenged the organisation both strategically as well as operationally, drawing in contributions from across the organisation, radical change faltered. The chapter explores how forces both positive (the defence of core values) and negative (resistance to the unfamiliar) ultimately restrain radical change. The combination of both these elements (coined 'organisational obstinacy') seriously impedes paradigm shifts occurring. Public leaders may face such organisational obstinacy when responding to change in the aftermath of the C-19 pandemic. The study offers a model of how such forces can be successfully managed.

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