Crisis as change strategy in public organisations

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Authors: C. Rochet, O. Keramidas, L. Bout

Publication Year: 2008


Journal: International Review of Administrative Sciences

Volume: 74

Issue: 1

Categories: Gestalt Switch, Organizational Change, Gestalt Switch


According to the common vision, the public sector is strongly change-resistant. Is this justified? In this research, we adopt the Northian distinction between institutions and organizations by focusing on the latter and their capability for change. We try to identify the strategically most effective lever to operate an organizational change in the public sector. We first review the literature on change strategies and their setting in the context of public organizations. Then, we synthesize the conclusions of four case studies around a question: ‘Is building public organizations capable of co-evolution with their environment feasible?’ We will present some strategies of evolution for public organizations, in response to a state of crisis, constituting a vector of organizational change. We conclude on the interest of considering crisis as a vector of organizational change in public organizations.