Change in a small, voluntary, ideologically-driven organization

  • Murray Keith Redman

    Student thesis: Professional Doctorate - CDU


    The project discussed in this dissertation was an intervention into a small voluntary organization which was strongly ideologically driven, staffed largely by professionals and conducted fieldwork in Aboriginal and Islander communities throughout northern Australia. The project used a methodology based on constructivist research principles, emphasising collaboration, emergence and reflective critique as principles and inclusiveness, emancipation, reeducation and a holistic view as values.

    The project identified serious challenges facing the organization, and the resources it had to cope with those challenges. it highlighted issues such as organizational processes and climate, values and attitudes, the characteristics of leadership and the impact of stakeholders in the wider environment who had a critical say in its future.

    The leadership of the organization responded by commissioning work on proposals to reorganize. The dissertation outlines the inclusive, step-by-step, iterative approach taken. The leadership, taking ownership of the process and the proposals, developed strategies that would both inform, include and take the membership of the organization along in its (ultimately successful) bid for radical change.

    A fundamental theoretical question emerged: how was this organization able to effectively introduce significant change with almost unanimous acceptance and minimal disruption? The local theory developed suggested that it was a coincidental mix of factors that variously drove, drew, led, encouraged, eased and simplified change. A further theoretical conclusion suggested that the process of change had more impact than the product.

    A reflective evaluation of the project explores the validity of the process, expresses possible reservations, and identifies substantial personal and organizational learning.

    The project resulted in real, extensive, organizational and personal sustainable improvement - as it was designed to do!

    Note: "Please note that under the agreement with the Executive Committee of the AAIB this dissertation is not for public access. Its contents are to be kept confidential".
    Date of AwardMay 2000
    Original languageEnglish

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