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public sector which used to be considered relatively stable. In an era of far-reaching technological changes affecting communications with the public and within the organization, in a dynamic global business environment marked by social changes (which are making the public more aware, involved, and demanding), public organizations must make changes and adjustments to respond to the needs and expectations of the public.
Change processes in a public organization are somewhat similar to change processes in business organizations. These call for commitment and leadership on the part of management, and setting the change in motion calls for creating a sense of need and urgency on the one hand, and presenting a vision and clear-cut goals on the other. Proper communication of the change within and outside the organization and recruitment of partners in the process through cooperation and dialog are vital.
Having said that, public organizations have their own unique characteristics:
a. The organization’s activity is always in the public eye. Exposure heightens fear of mistakes and attention must be paid to communication the changes to the public.
b. The work environment in the public sector does not enable providing positive remuneration for desirable behavior (monetary incentives, quick promotion) and negative remuneration for undesirable behavior (withholding incentives, organizational sanctions, and even layoffs). This poses a special challenge to the people leading the change in creating a sense of need and urgency for the change.
c. In some of the organizations, there is a culture of disbelief in the ability to effect change and a lack of motivation to even attempt to.
We have developed an effective methodology for assimilating processes of change in the public sector, starting with consultation to the people leading the change about how to effect the change, communicating it to the organization and clients and implementing it; complete cooperation of the workers’ union in the process and enlisting their help to achieve success; training executives in managing the change; assistance in planning and organizing the process of change and devising a work plan; evaluating the various stages of the change process (formative evaluation); guiding the processes of involving executives and employees in shaping the change; characterization of the tool supporting the process (such as an information management system); etc.