An inquiry into Eskom transmission's new lifecycle model application and its impact on organizational effectiveness.
The recent global economic challenges have drastically impacted several economic sectors across the world. As such, Eskom, the South African electricity utility, has experienced a number of changes, ranging from the organisational structure to the functional processes or models, to meet the demands of the volatile global market. This research acknowledges that the Eskom Transmission organisation, a division within Eskom, has interrelated departmental processes. However, the transition from the conceptual phase to the execution (implementation) phase had a number of misalignments. These manifested in the following challenges, amongst others: late execution and completion of projects which often results in cost overruns; poor quality completed projects; a high number of projects at execution stage with inadequately defined scope of work which led to scope changes during implementation; and a high staff turnover, particularly of project managers. As such, the project lifecycle model was adapted to address these challenges. This research focused on the change management principles that were followed in realising the new Eskom Transmission lifecycle model, and investigated the impact that this had on the people “living” with the new model as well as the inter-departmental relations, control mechanisms, attitude towards the management, and organisational performance. Available literature on change management, as well as some aspects of organisational behaviour, such as organisational performance, were utilised to try and provide an understanding of the above-mentioned areas of interest. The chosen and most appropriate methodology for collecting data was the qualitative approach as it allowed for descriptive and extensive information gathering. The researcher sought subjective information through human interpretation. For data collection, a comprehensive questionnaire for all the stakeholder groups was used, as well as documentation analysis. The data was then analysed and interpreted, which allowed for pertinent findings and recommendations to be made. The findings included the establishment that Eskom Transmission adapted Kotter’s (1988) eight stage model in implementing its new lifecycle model. The impact of Eskom Transmission’s new lifecycle model on the people “living” with this model was found to be premature to measure. However, an improvement has been noted in the definition of the scope of work for projects, possibly owing to more effective interactions between employees during project meetings and is an indication that the new model is a contributor towards improving Eskom’s organisational performance. Further findings included inadequate stakeholder consultation, which rendered the followed implementation strategy non-optimal; as well as varied stakeholder views on the support of the new lifecycle model for Eskom Transmission’s goals and vision. The latter suggests an opportunity for Eskom Transmission management to review the lifecycle model to improve its alignment to the division’s goals and vision in order to encourage commitment levels which, amongst others, impact organisational effectiveness.