The politics of change: strategic management in the defense administration

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Title: The politics of change: strategic management in the defense administration
Author: Puukka,Ilkka
Contributor: University of Helsinki, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Political Science
Date: 2001-05-03
Language: en
Thesis level: Licentiate thesis
Abstract: The objective of this study was the exercise of power and the politics related to it in the reform and change processes that have been carried out in a bureaucratic organization that belongs to the public administration. The study attempts to find out what happens when reforms deal with paradigrnatic models of activity that are related to bureaucratic procedures, and which factors activate resistance to change and in what conditions activity based on rational decision-making is maintained. This is a multiple-case study. The cases (4) dealt with the core functions and supportive functions of the Finnish Defense Forces. The basic material of the cases was formed out of notes the author had made on personal experiences; the notes have been supplemented with relevant document material. The cases took place between 1987 and 1999. Bureaucracy theory was used as the theoretical fl=ework, and on this basis the cases were analyzed from four different viewpoints: rational and incremental viewpoints and the viewpoints of power and interpretation. The cases showed that the better a reform can be justified with the help of the prevailing organization culture, the better the reform is accepted. Conceming the behavior of the actors, the study showed that officials, using various political and administrative channels, tend to try to break up decisions unfavorable to them. The institutional power exercised by the highest body of officials, allied with different interest groups, p-oved to be a strong opposing force to a minister exercising political power. The intertwining of rational strivings and bureaucratic politics meant that decisions in the change processes described by the cases began to tum into random outcomes of "various games". The organizations being studied acted strongly to interventions directed at their areas of operations. In all cases, an influential characteristic turned out to be interpretation and the incremental progression of changes. The cases can be seen to have shown that in refonns directed at the paradigrnatic models of activity in the defense administration a successful execution requires the ability and means to penetrate three paradigmatic walls that reject change. These walls are the wall of bureaucracy, the wall of military culture and the wall of professionalism. In the rational progression of the change process, a critical factor was found to be the top leadership's shared view of scenarios, visions and strategies as well as the principies of the management of change. The study showed that when reforins touch upon paradigrnatic models of activity related to bureaucratic procedures, the generation and management of a refortn project without the commitment of political decision-makers and the top body of officials brings with it phenomena and procedures related to bureaucratic politics. The cases also show that in change situations there is reason to pay attention not only to structures and organizations, but also to the attitudes of the individual and also that a change situation must also be approached from a psychological point of view. The development of change management in the defense administration requires the finding of the means and tools needed to break the prevailing paradigmatic walls and procedural reforms related to the execution of change. The study showed that when managing deepreaching changes that touch upon the entire field of administration, the behavior and activities of the minister become decisively important faetors. The minister can therefore be seen as a value leader and in this role he must become strongly involved in the game of bureaucratic politics played by officials.
Description: Endast sammandrag. Inbundna avhandlingar kan sökas i Helka-databasen ( Elektroniska kopior av avhandlingar finns antingen öppet på nätet eller endast tillgängliga i bibliotekets avhandlingsterminaler.Only abstract. Paper copies of master’s theses are listed in the Helka database ( Electronic copies of master’s theses are either available as open access or only on thesis terminals in the Helsinki University Library.Vain tiivistelmä. Sidottujen gradujen saatavuuden voit tarkistaa Helka-tietokannasta ( Digitaaliset gradut voivat olla luettavissa avoimesti verkossa tai rajoitetusti kirjaston opinnäytekioskeilla.
Subject: change
strategia management
defense administration
military culture

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