Analysis of Powys County Council Using Three Theoretical Models

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a Tourism Development Officer for fourteen years, to examine the three management/ organisational theories covered in the module "Managing Human Resources for Results" which focuses on organisational/people performance.

It is the author's intention to demonstrate that Powys County Council is more unique to the "old" style management of organisations, due mainly to its structure and the rather restrictive nature of management in local authorities. However, certain parts of the organisation do show some connections to "new age" management and the management of change, particularly with reference to Quinn's Competitive Forces Model (1988), elements of which need to be developed and enhanced within Powys County Council's to ensure its future as a key Local Government body in Wales.

It is essential for all organisations, including those in the public sector, to work towards the Twenty-First Century ethos of the management of Human Resources, which is essentially results/ performance led. Watson and Gallagher (2005) cite The U.K. Government's report Twenty-First Century Skills: Realising Our Potential (2003) "effective leadership and management are key to the development of competitive business and high quality public services. Good leaders and managers recognise the importance of workforce skills development as a fundamental building block of high performance". (Watson and Gallagher, 2005, p.43)

While carrying out this analysis, it is important to recognise that the three theoretical models advocated by Mintzberg, ( 1973,1979,1989 1990) Morgan, (1993, 2005) and Quinn (1988, 2007) have strengths and weaknesses and demonstrate a progression of ideas in the management of organisations, a paradigm shift from Scientific Management to New Age Management and the Management of change. Scientific Management was pioneered in the early Twentieth century by Fredrick Taylor. An organisation that advocates Scientific Management is centred around authoritarian managers who manage hierarchal centralised organisations, through bureaucratic systems, rules and regulations, where the manager is the sole decision maker and power holder and is always right and is therefore in a win-win situation, unlike other staff members who are viewed/treated as subordinates, who can not make decisions and are always wrong and are therefore in a lose-lose situation. In organisations that advocate new age management, for example High Performance Working Organisations, leaders or facilitators with decision making roles, share information and work with team members to achieve shared results. Power is delegated, which ensures staff development and all team members therefore should be in a win-win situation/ relationship. The external environment is equally as important as the internal, unlike the Scientific Management orientated organisation, which tends to be internally focussed on the hierarchical Manager. New Age Management, unlike Scientific Management provides a platform to embrace the management of change more easily and effectively. The Management of change is an integral part of all organisations, who are constantly subjected to forces or "Drivers" of change both internally and externally. Internal forces of change incorporate: - a new management team, low retention and high absenteeism. External forces of change incorporate: - new technology, customer needs, the global economy, legislation and competitors (CIPD, Website.)

Powys County Council

For a brief overview of Powys County Council, please see Appendix 1.

Analysis of Powys County Council from a Theoretical Perspective

Powys County Council and the Resource-Based Theory/ View

To give more focus to analysing the organisational structure and management styles of Powys County Council from a theoretical perspective, the author will refer to the Resource-Based Theory or Resource-Based View.

Wernerfelt (1984) created the expression "Resource-based view of the firm" and he identified resources as "More formally a firm's resources at a given time could be defined as those (tangible and intangible) assets which are tied semi- permanently to the firm". (Wernerfelt, 1984, p.172).

The key capability of the Resource-Based Theory is an organisation's assets from an economic perspective. This Theory views staff resources as an asset, which would give the organisation in question a sustainable and competitive advantage. However, it does not consider "the human element" of an organisation, which is essential to work towards the creation of "a learning organisation" or High Performance Working Organisation, where learning is inherent and performance and development of the organisation is directly related to its staff.

The term learning organisation was pioneered by Senge (1990) and the term High Performance Working Organisation is a development on from the Learning Organisation and was coined by the CIPD in the early 2000s.

Senge (1990) states that learning organisations are:

" organizations where people continually expand their capacity to create the results they truly desire, where new and expansive patterns of thinking are nurtured, where collective aspiration is set free, and where people are continually learning to see the whole together." (Senge, 1990, p.3.)

Powys County Council does not currently possess the necessary foundations to become a Learning Organisation/ High Performance Working Organisation. For example, it has a hierarchical structure, which has a top heavy senior management structure, having a chief executive, two executive directors and fifteen Heads of Service. According to Mintzberg (1973,1979,1989) Powys County Council's structure is atypical of a Machine organisation, the concept of which is more fully discussed on pages, 5 to 7.

In addition, although Powys County Council advocates life-long learning, as noted in Appendix 1, the organisation does not truly value Continual Professional Development and this is largely due to the fact that many of its Head Of Service, who cover increasingly wide service areas, largely due to the need to make financial savings, do not have the credentials or breadth of knowledge of their service, to run it with true efficiency and thus a suitable level of performance.

The current Head of Regeneration and Economic Development for example, is qualified in the field of Transportation, but has no background for example in Tourism, Business or regeneration and to date has not taken chosen to engage to continual professional development.

The fact, that Heads Of Service are now covering wider Service areas, could be argued to be a move towards becoming a Learning Organisation, where members of staff perform multi-task roles, however, without taking on any formal training this does not truly appear to be the case.

It could also be argued that Powys County Council is working towards making important changes, particularly from the perspective of continual professional development, through the appointment of an Education Officer in 2009 to the Training and Development Unit which will be discussed further on page 6, whose main role is to develop suitable training programmes for individual staff members, in order to enhance their skills base and individual and organisational performance levels and to afford new employment opportunities, particularly with relation to internal vacancies. This change could be linked to New Age management and possibly the management of change.

Mintzberg (1979,1989,1990) identifies ten managerial roles within an organisation, which are divided into three sub categories :- Interpersonal Roles - Figurehead, Leader and Liaison, Informational Roles - Monitor (Receiver), Disseminator of information and Spokesperson, Decisional Roles - Entrepreneur, Disturbance handler, Resource allocator and negotiator. Mintzberg (1990) expands on these roles, which further reiterate his classical views and approaches to the management of organisations.

However, it could be argued that Mintzberg's Interpersonal Roles demonstrate a move towards New Age Management. However, Mintzberg does not develop this concept much further.

Mintzberg's managerial roles (1979, 1989, 1990) are clearly operational within Powys County Council on a day -to-day basis, which hamper its ability to adopt and adapt to the constantly changing demands on it as a public sector body, particularly in light of the Government cuts, which are set to adversely affect its day-to-day operations.

For example, with regards to:-

Disseminator of Information (Mintzberg 1979, 1989, 1990) - Heads of Service disseminate high-level information, for example with relation to The Corporate Strategy to more junior members of staff, in order to inform them of decisions that have already been made. Heads of Service like to see this as keeping relevant staff members in the "loop" through information sharing, however they have had no input, even at a consultation level, in the decisions that have been made with regard to key Unit objectives, which they ultimately have responsibility for achieving through their day-to-day functions.

Resource Allocator (Mintzberg 1979, 1989, 1990) - The Tourism Services Manager decides on the allocation of the Annual Tourism Services budget, before it is allocated to certain junior managers for budgetary control. According to Mintzberg (1990) "By retaining this power, the manager can ensure decisions are interrelated". (Mintzberg, 1990, p.172) However, by failing to involve the relevant budget holders in the allocation of funds, prior to the budgets being set has led to funds being wrongly allocated and either not spent or under-spent, which has led to a reduction in the overall Tourism Services Budget.

Mintzberg (1979, 1989) identifies six structural parts of an organisation which consist of the operating core, the strategic apex, a middle line, the Techno structure, support staff and ideology. Powys County Council can be aligned with this structure, but does demonstrate differences to it, which are noted in brief.

Powys County Council has a large operating core; which consists of the majority of its operational staff located in Llandrindod Wells, Brecon and Welshpool and who carry out duties such as highway and street lighting maintenance and waste collection; a significant strategic apex, which is lead by the Chief Executive, the "chain of command" then passes to the two Executive Directors and fifteen Heads of Service; a large middle line of management which consists of a hierarchy of managerial staff, (Mintzberg, 1979, 1989) from Senior Managers, such as the Senior Manager for Policy and Regeneration Services to Service Managers, with specific responsibilities such as the Tourism Services Manager to managers with key responsibilities such as the Tourism Information Manager; a notable techno structure which consists of a large number of Administrative Officers who " are responsible for the work of others." (Mintzberg, 1989, p.98) however conversely they are not "outside the hierarchy of line authority." (Mintzberg, 1989, p.98) as their line management leads " back up the chain of command" to the top of Powys County Council; support staff who provide internal services (Mintzberg, 1989), but also have external roles to play, for example, the Corporate Policy Unit and The PR Unit who provide internal support, for example, the former is responsible for producing the Corporate Improvement Plan for Powys County Council, which deals with both internal and outward facing services and the secretariat of Powys Community Strategy Executive, which deals with cross organisational issues and the latter is responsible for example for the staff newsletter and for dealing with all Powys County Council's external press coverage; an ideology which has its foundations in its Corporate Plan, the key objectives of which are noted in Appendix 1 of this report and which are " feed" into each service areas' Business Plan and which guide these plans, however the aims of the Corporate Plan have less meaning and effect on day-to-day operations in the shire offices and lower down the structural chain.

Mintzberg's (1989) six organisation structures or configurations are: - The Entrepreneurial Organisation, The Machine Organisation, The Professional Organisation, The Diversified Organisation, The Innovative Organisation and The Missionary Organisation.

Each of the six organisations demonstrate commonalities between each other, but their structures become more complex from the Entrepreneurial Organisation, which has the simplest structure and direct lines of authority, to the Innovative Organisation or Adhocracy, which is the most complex structure and lines of authority/ power are unclear. The Missionary Organisation (Mintzberg 1989) is different from the other five organisations, as it is based on the concept of the ideology of an organisation rather than its structure.

Mintzberg (1989) critically analyses the six organisational types in great detail. From the author's understanding of Mintzberg's analysis, numerous features from each of the organisational types can be aligned to Powys County Council, however the most applicable to it is the Machine Organisation.

Unlike Mintzberg's theories of management and organisations, Morgan (1993, 2005) recognises that while his theories of metaphor provide a useful understanding of organisations and their management, "floors" do exist within them. "We have to accept that any theory or perspective that we bring to the study of organization and management, while capable of creating invaluable insights, is also incomplete, biased and potentially misleading." (Morgan, 2005, p.5)

According to McCourt (1997), a basic change process model is evident in Morgan's work (1993, 2005), which McCourt illustrates as follows (McCourt, 1997, p.516):

metaphoric thinking C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\MEDIA\OFFICE12\Bullets\BD21298_.gifnew understanding C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\MEDIA\OFFICE12\Bullets\BD21298_.gifcreative action

i.e. the use of metaphor has the ability to change the way in which organisations are understood and this new understanding could stimulate creative action.

Gaddefors (2007) argues that metaphors are one of the methods of understanding organisations and that metaphor use is more than a means of facilitating learning and creating new ideas.

Morgan (2005) critically analyses organisations through nine metaphors, they are: - machines, organisms, brains, cultures, political systems, psychic prisons, flux and transformation and instruments of domination. Morgan's use of metaphor helps the reader to relate to and to gain a clearer understanding of the complex nature of organisations.

Powys County Council clearly exhibits links to Morgan's Machine Metaphor ( 1993, 2005) which demonstrate similar characteristics to Mintzberg's bureaucratic Machine organisation (1979, 1989). According to Morgan the machine metaphor (1993, 2005) is very hierarchal, decision-making is centralised, there is no creativity and the human element are compliant. Powys County Council is clearly hierarchal in structure, decision-making is largely centralised at headquarters, however is apparent in certain quarters is apparent for e.g. through the work of the Community Policy Unit who are responsible for the creation of the Community Strategy and the internal and external partnership working associated with it, however creativity is somewhat restricted/ limited due to the fact that all processes relating to the work of the Community Policy Unit are closely monitored internally for e.g. by the Chief Executive, his directors and Heads of Service and externally by chief executive officers of partnership organisations. Compliance therefore could be said to be the norm.

Morgan (1993, 2005) demonstrates a shift in paradigm from the scientific bureaucratic approach to management, advocated by Mintzberg ( 1973,1979, 1989, 1990) to the Darwinisitic/ Newtonian paradigm of New Age Management, through his use of the organism metaphor, where the needs of the organisation are recognised and interaction processes and the external environment is important. The organism metaphor therefore can be viewed as a move towards the learning organisation. Despite demonstrating a close affinity to the machine metaphor Powys County Council does show some connections to the organism metaphor and therefore the concept of New Age Management for example through the expansion of the Training and Development Unit of the Human Resources Department in 2009, including the appointment of an Education Officer, whose appointment followed an in depth staff survey into training and development needs whose main roles is to develop suitable training programmes for individual staff members, in order to enhance their skills base and individual and organisational performance levels and to afford new employment opportunities, particularly with relation to internal vacancies.

McCourt (1997) argues that Morgan's inability to relate his metaphorical thinking model to recognised organisational change models is a serious inadequacy. However, despite this McCourt (1997) does acknowledge the importance of Morgan's work, which resulted in numerous practical studies based on the use of metaphor.

According to Mintzberg (1989) the basic structure of a Machine organisation is "highly specialised, routine operating tasks; very formalised communication throughout the organisation; large-sized operating units; reliance on the functional basis for group tasks; relatively centralized power for decision-making; and an elaborate administrative structure with a sharp distinction between line and staff." (Mintzberg, 1989, p.133). This description does relate significantly to Powys County Council, for instance specialist units do exist within its structure for example, Tourism, Planning, Highways and Corporate Policy Units deal with specific specialised functions on a day to day basis; routine tasks are the norm in the Units, but even more so at the operating core for e.g. Highways and Street Lighting maintenance and waste disposal; lines of communication and communication procedures are formalised or standardised on paper, but within Powys County Council, they are not always followed, which often results in a break-down of communication and duplication of effort throughout the organisation. Powys County Council certainly adheres to the centralisation of power, as key decisions are made in the majority at the council's Headquarters and then "rolled out" for implementation across the organisation. According to Mintzberg (1979, 1989) The administrative system is considerably elaborate and in fact three years ago, a Business Performance Unit was formed within the council to streamline administrative duties across the organisation. In addition, there is a significant and noticeable division between for example, administrative staff and managers and the phrase that is echoed throughout the organisation particularly by many managers is "that they are only admin!" This is not only a very discriminative and negative term of phrase, but it shows clearly the ignorance of the people in question, as it is the administrative staff, who keep the organisation functioning, with reducing resources on a day to day basis.

Mintzberg (1979, 1989) refers to the bureaucracy, control and standardisation that exist within a machine organisation and Morgan ( 1993, 2005) also refers to the bureaucratic and straightforward nature of tasks in the machine metaphor, which is certainly an over-riding feature within Powys County Council. There are a plethora of procedures to follow and there seems to be a "piece of paper" to complete for every function within the organisation, which slows processes down, protracts the simplest of tasks, reduces efficiency and increases costs. Procedure and administration are necessary features of any organisation, but the extensive nature of them within Powys County Council hampers it need to operate with the kind of efficiency necessary to "move it" towards "competitive advantage" or to meet the increasing demands/ expectations of the taxpayer. (CIPD, 2001)

Mintzberg (1979, 1989) notes that power in a machine organisation is concentrated at the strategic apex, where the management of the organisation are located. He sees this power as having both formal and informal elements to it. The informal power is based on the knowledge of the managers. Power in Powys County Council certainly rests with the Senior Managers. This formal power is supported by their knowledge, which often remains between them and county councillor board members and is not shared with other members of staff, unless totally necessary. The inability of Managers within Powys County to impart their knowledge to others clearly hampers the development of the organisation as knowledge has the ability to give a "competitive edge" or help maintain sustainability which is vital, particularly in the U.K.'s current economic climate, which is set to seriously effect Local Government agencies like Powys County Council, with the lost of over 300,000 public service posts announced by George Osborne in May 2010. (Times Online)

Mintzberg (1979, 1989) also observes that machine organisations generally tend to be larger and more mature organisations, he links this maturity with the ability to standardise work processes. Mintzberg (1989) notes that government departments tend to be machine organisations, not only due to the routine nature of their work, but also because they are answerable to the public. In addition, Mintzberg (1989) notes that machine organisations can be controlled externally or alternatively can operate as closed systems and tend to function in a stable and simple environment. Morgan (2005) also refers to the fairly stable nature of the environment in which the machine metaphor operates.

Powys County Council demonstrates these features, as it was established in 1996, employs over 8,000 staff, operates a vast number of standardised work processes on a daily basis, is accountable to the citizen as a local government body and is ultimately controlled by the Welsh Assembly Government, but conversely Powys County Council is also controlled internally by the Chief Executive and the county councillors, particularly the members of the board. Powys County Council operates in a fairly stable and uncomplicated environment, however over the last few years; it has suffered reduced funding from the Welsh Assembly, which is based on population count, rather than the area that it covers. This has been a major problem for Powys, as it covers 2/3 of the land mass of Wales but is very sparsely populated. Reductions in funding has already led to "forced" internal change within Powys County Council i.e. staff redundancies and this goes against the norm according to Mintzberg (1979,1989) and Morgan (2005) as machine organisations do not advocate change.

Quinn's Competing Values Model or Framework (1988) creates a link between Scientific Management, as advocated by Mintzberg (1979, 1989, 1990), "New Age" management, as advocated by Morgan (1993, 2005) and change management, as advocated by Quinn (1988).

It brings together four seemingly opposing management models: - Human Relations Model, Opens Systems Model, Internal Process Model and Rational Goal Model.

According to Quinn, Faerman et al (2007) The Human Relations Model focuses on flexibility and internal processes, where individuals are intrinsically appreciated, which is completely opposite to the Rational Goal Model which focuses on control and external processes, where individuals are only valued, if they have made a significant contribution to the achievement of goals. The Open Systems Model centres on flexibility and external processes, where change is necessary to meet the demands of the ever-changing external environment and is contrary to the Internal Process Model which revolves around control and internal processes, where the continuance of stability is necessary.

Quinn, Faerman et al (2007) argue that eight general values/ roles function within the Competing Values Model, they are:- Facilitator and Mentor in the Human Relations Model, Innovator and Broker in the Open Systems Model, Co-ordinator and Monitor in the Internal Process Model and Producer and Director in the Rational Goal Model.

Quinn's eight values or roles (1988) can be linked to Mintzberg's managerial roles (1979, 1989, 1990), with particular reference to the Co-ordinator and Monitor roles within the Internal Process Model.

Quinn's Co-ordinator (1988) plans, organises and controls and Quinn's Monitor (1988) receives and organises, evaluates and responds to routine information, like Mintzberg's manager (1979, 1989, 1990).

Quinn's roles (1988) also show connections to Morgan's New Age Management metaphors, with particular reference to the Mentor in the Human Relations Model.

Quinn's Mentor (1988) understands himself and others and understands the importance of interpersonal communications and developing staff members and these characteristics are evident, especially in Morgan's organism and brain metaphors (1993,2005).

Quinn's roles (1988) can clearly be linked to the theory of the management of change, with particular reference to the Innovator in the Open Systems Model who focuses on living with change, creative thinking and managing change.

Quinn, Faerman et al (2007) argue that a combination of elements from the four models within the Competing Forces Model need to be evident within an organisation in order for it to be able to perform successfully. "To be effective in the long-run, we must engage in Collaborating, Controlling, Competing, and Creating on a regular basis". (Quinn, Faerman et al, 2007, p.13).

Other renowned theorists on change management for example, Kanter (1984) support elements of Quinn's theories (1988) with regards to collaboration, competing and creating, but she (Kanter,1984) would not support the need for the controlling element of Quinn's Model (1988). Kanter's theories (1984) centre on innovation, entrepreneurship and the development of "participative management" within an organisation that is " people orientated" and ideas that are generated from the organisational people help the organisation to succeed.

Quinn's model (1988) may have some elements with in it than do not naturally fit with the concept of the management of change theory, however, Quinn's Model (1988) could be adopted/adapted by Powys County Council, if it initially developed relevant New Age management styles throughout the organisation and thus it would be in a stronger position to start developing and adopting management of change working practices, which are vital to secure its future development and stability.

Mintzberg (1989) notes that many problems arise through operating as a machine organisation, particularly with reference to the human element, which is overlooked in a Machine Organisation in order to ensure continued outputs. Morgan (2005) also supports this view of the machine metaphor, which leads to dehumanisation of the workforce. This is certainly the case in Powys County Council and is perhaps where the organisation has its greatest challenge, if it can ever work towards becoming a more "people-friendly" organisation and truly recognise the importance of all its staff, whatever their position in the organisation.

It is significant to note that Powys County Council also shows some structural and operational elements that are related to Mintzberg's Diversified organisation (1979, 1989) as it does have three shires or divisions, as already mentioned and they have the ability and do operate almost independently of Headquarters, on a day to day basis. Mintzberg (1979,1989) does note that there are links between the Machine and Divisionalised organisation in that headquarters controls the divisions in such a way that they operate like machine organisations or closed systems and this could be said to be true of Powys County Council, however overall the organisation does show more significant links to the Machine organisation.

Recommendations For Change

Powys County Council's organisational, managerial structure and management roles/ values do not lend themselves naturally to embrace change, however managers within Powys County Council must be "educated" on the need to start to satisfactorily introduce New Age Management working procedures/ practices into the organisation to begin to work towards making Powys County Council more of a " learning" orientated organisation, which would put it in a stronger position to embrace change more readily and effectively. This process would need to form part of their initial management of change programme to ensure its future survival.

Change will have to initially be actioned from the top for example the Chief Executive, together with the Head of Human Resources and then "rolled out" across the organisation.

During the creation of the Management of Change Programme, Powys County Council managers will need to recognise the true importance and value of all its staff members, including the wealth of knowledge that exists amongst them. This knowledge can be divided into "tacit" and "explicit" knowledge. "Tacit" knowledge combines background knowledge and personal knowledge. It is almost impossible to measure "tacit" knowledge, as it is subjective and often people are unaware that they possess this knowledge. "Explicit" knowledge is everything within an organisation that is codified, i.e. rules and regulations, organisational norms. Managers will need to ensure that the "tacit" and "explicit" knowledge that exists within the organisation is used to work towards achieving "competitive advantage"/ sustainability for Powys County Council as one of the key local government bodies in Wales.

All proposed changes within the organisation will need to be embraced by all members of staff both pre and post implementation, in order to ensure that the change management programme is successful.

In addition, the importance of the external environment needs to be more fully understood by the managers of Powys County Council. Although, Powys County Council works with a plethora of external agencies, as already mentioned and it has 73 community elected Council members, who are first and fore-mostly " answerable" to the public, Powys County Council does not fully embrace the concept of social inclusion, by using these partner organisations and these key community contacts further enhance its "competitive advantage" abilities.


The author set out to analyse Powys County Council through the three theoretical models of Scientific Management, New Age Management and The Management of Change, covered in the module "Managing Human Resources for results", which centres on organisational/ people performance.

The author's aim was to show that Powys County Council has more affinity with the "old" style management of organisations, but that it does show some connections to " new age" management and the management of change, with particular reference to Quinn's Competitive Forces Model (1988), which need to be developed and enhanced to ensure the future of Powys County Council as a key Local Government body in Wales.

The author has clearly demonstrated through an in-depth analysis of Powys County Council, through the three theoretical models, by focusing on the work of the three key authors in these fields i.e. Mintzberg, Morgan and Quinn, that Powys Council is steeped in both the organisational structures and management styles of Scientific Management/ " old" style management, as advocated by Mintzberg ( 1973, 1979 1989, 1990) however despite this, it does show some connections, albeit rather tentative to New Age Management, as advocated by Morgan (1993, 2005) and to the management of change, particularly in relation to Quinn's Competing Values Model (1988, 2007).


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