Change Analysis in Luxembourg Public Administration relative to Continuous Improvement Tools’ Implementation


CALL: 2011

DOMAIN: IS - Business Service Design


LAST NAME: Rousseau




KEYWORDS: change; innovation; service delivery; organizational change; public administration; continuous improvement; Luxembourg; organizational sociology.

START: 2012-02-15

END: 2014-02-14


Submitted Abstract

Since the 1980’s methods and practices have been used to conduct reform initiatives in public administrations (i.e. public organisations related to the executive branches of the government). Reforms have notably referred to the improvement of the way they operate and deliver services to both business and the general public. For the last seven years or so, it has also been one of the priorities for the government of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. Under the name of “state modernization”, it has encouraged the improvement of the quality of public services by the implementation of quality management. As a result, 18 of the 120 Luxembourg public administrations (LPA) have implemented quality management whose principles notably involve customer focus. However, while there have been many attempts to evaluate the impact of quality management in public administrations elsewhere in Europe from a scientific point of view, this issue has still not been addressed in Luxembourg. In other words, it is hard to say whether or not, and, if so, to what extent, quality management has contributed to improve the organizational performance of LPA in terms of service delivery. In addition, changes that have occurred have not been evaluated in all their organizational dimensions i.e. economic, social, political, structural, and cultural. Directly responding to these issues, the CAPACITI project will analyze change processes in service quality related to the implementation of quality management in public administrations from a social science perspective. The focus of our research will be on changing in business service design, and especially on organizational change related to the implementation of a quality management tool called “continuous improvement”, expecting employees to define and transform their own work processes through gradual and incremental improvements in regard to quality improvement. The LPA which have implemented continuous improvement tools have specifically used a tool called the “Common Assessment Framework” (CAF) which has also been implemented in many public administrations in Europe for over ten years. More precisely, the CAPACITI project will analyze change processes in service quality related to the use of CAF from an organization theory perspective. The methodology supporting our research will be guided by one main assumption: organisational changes must be investigated through diverse explanatory approaches (rational approach, political approach, incremental approach, contingency approach, and interpretive approach). That is why we will make use of an analytical framework which combines the contributions of management and social sciences, namely the Five forces’ model designed by Pr. François Pichault (2009). The study will be conducted through a comparative case study research in 5 public administrations where continuous improvement tools have been used to assist in implementing organisational changes. Empirical data will be collected from both qualitative and quantitative research techniques (non directive interviews with key informants and individuals directly involved in the continuous improvement process, focus groups, documentation, direct observations, and questionnaires).From a case study research offering descriptions, explanations, and evaluations of change processes in Luxembourg public administrations, the project will contribute to scientific and practical findings on organizational change related to change management, public management and quality management in (Luxembourg) public administrations. Because the results could be used to influence policy and practice engaged by the MFPRA and public administrations based in Luxembourg, the project will contribute to foster the state modernization programme of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg.

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