Transformation in the workplace : what makes for sustainable solutions.
This research is an experiential learning history of a change management process that occurred within the local government Development Management Department of the Ethekwini Municipality in the South African province of KwaZulu Natal. The department is the gatekeeper of development for Ethekwini and offers the plans approval service in the municipal area. The department underwent an internal change management process in 2000, which aimed to streamline the plans approval process and minimize the approval timeframe. The Municipality’s decision to change the existing system was motivated by the lack of foreign direct investment into the city due to the bureaucratic plans approval process. This research used the qualitative framework and case study approach to understand the context of the requirement for the change, the implemented changes and the aftermath of the changes. A sample group of 38% (from the department) was interviewed, their responses consolidated, grouped and graphically represented, enabling the unpacking of the change management experience. The author then analyses the data against systems theory and change management theory to enable a greater appreciation of the complexity of the process and the high impacts of specific choices in the change management process. The findings of the research indicate a high degree of unresolved stress relating to the imposition of the process of change management on employees. The author draws the conclusion from the evidence presented that the inclusion of the recipients of change, in the process of change will mitigate against these stresses. This research documents the experience of the change management process by the recipients of change. In so doing it offers a greater level of insight of the way in which change is experienced, thereby promoting better choices by practitioners in the field of change management.