Why a "Model"?

Pyramidal ModelIf sustainable improvement is desired, a good management change model is essential, as most significant forms of management change require:

  • data about, and understanding of, key patterns and process-drivers;

  • a valid model which takes into account goals, values, process dynamics, and behavioral patterns;

  • belief in such a model;

  • a commitment to act on this belief;

  • the will to follow through with a specific change-plan.

If broad, systemic change (a change in the "administrative culture") is desired, a management change model additionally calls for:

  • purpose clearly stated, broadly understood;

  • performance goals, objectives, and timetables;

  • values about what constitutes effective organizational performance;

  • rewards that reinforce values, goals, timetables, and purpose;

  • structure in the form of an integrated set of tools that lend the consistency and coherence necessary for sustainable change; and

  • information about external benchmarks, exemplary practices, useful improvement tools, customer satisfaction, and measured progress toward performance objectives.

The table below illustrates how all elements in this Program support one or more of these six dimensions.

Analytical and Normative Models

A complete management change model contains both analytical and "normative" elements. Its analytical features dissect and clarify problems; the normative part synthesizes solutions, utilizing design principles applied to findings from the earlier analytical phase. These normative and analytical components are thus linked, and together constitute an integrated management change model.

This model contains strong normative elements in three areas:  

  1. Simplification goals and principles, to create a strong counter-pressure against the tendencies of a bureaucracy to continually add more systems, program-variants, controls, specialized policies, and layers of complexity.

  2. Teamwork principles, increasingly needed as continuous process improvement extends across functions and organizational domains.

  3. "Effectiveness principles," an interrelated set of quality criteria, centered around accountability and performance values, that differs sharply from prior beliefs, "conventional wisdom," and bureaucratic patterns.

These principles play key roles in the Irvine model. Bureaucracies are resistant to change because internal dynamics create strong drives to preserve or return to status-quo conditions in the face of change. These dynamics are rooted in rule-making and enforcement behavior, and are typically entrenched because status-quo practices embedded in policy are "safe," and thus they comfortably obscure the fact that accountability and responsibility are dysfunctionally fragmented. Such a system is stable and predictable in its behavior, yet inefficient when conditions shift and unresponsive when change is needed.

Yet the oft-portrayed picture of the rule-bound bureaucrat is not entirely accurate. No set of rules is without its ambiguities and contradictions, and the most respected managers in a bureaucracy are the ones who know how to change direction in ways that exploit -- in a positive way -- inconsistencies in what may appear to be a seamless policy infrastructure. When such change happens, it is usually in the direction that is (A) rewarded (or at least not penalized), (B) mission-linked (if the institution's goals are stated), and (C) consistent with performance values (to the extent that a shared understanding exists about what constitutes good organizational performance).

Therefore, changing "administrative culture" does not require a wholesale dismantling of all existing patterns based on a detailed analysis of their flaws. Rather, a strong framework of teamwork, simplification, quality and effectiveness principles (referred to above and developed in detail later in this booklet) provides a reverse-bias to old values, behavioral norms, and performance patterns. "Strong" means that these principles are not only asserted clearly, but consistently and coherently. When people sense inconsistency or incoherence in "the new rules of the game" they return to status quo behaviors.

This model endeavors to support all the change-factors highlighted above. The sections which follow describe each element of the model, starting from goals and objectives at the base, explaining each layer of the built-up pyramid, and culminating with results to-date. This table indicates how the components of this Model support the key ingredients for management change:

Section Purpose Goals Values Rewards Structure Information
University Mission and Goals 1.1 3 3 3
Productivity and Service Goals 1.1 3 3 3
Complexity-Reduction Goals 1.1 3 3 3
Human Resources Foundations 2.1 3 3 3 3
Administrative Culture 2.2 3 3 3
Technology Upgrading 2.3 3 3
Delegations Principles 2.4 3 3 3
Outsourcing/Customer Rights 2.5 3
Teamwork Principles 2.6 3 3 3
Quality Design Principles 2.7 3 3 3 3
Customer Involvement 3.1 3 3 3 3
Customer Satisfaction Tools 3.1 3 3 3
Productivity Targets 3.2 3 3
“Paper-sparse” Plan 3.3 3 3
Exemplary Practices Benchmarking 3.4 3
“Key Ingredient” Checklists 3.5 3 3
Training Programs 3.6, 4.3 3 3 3 3 3
Performance Objectives 3.7 3 3 3 3 3 3
Strategic Planning Framework 3.5 3 3 3 3
Simplified Training Standards 1.1 3
Specific Improvement Plans 4.1, 4.2 3 3 3
Performance and Results Measurement 4.3 3 3 3 3 3
Validate Model 4.2 3 3 3 3 3 3