Organizational change is a process that is observed in those businesses or institutions that are oriented to further progress or development in order to adapt to the observed trends in the market or industry. The world is constantly changing, and organizations also face the necessity of a change because of the impact of external factors on their development (Brown & Harvey, 2011). If an organization aims to grow, it is important to change approaches to working processes, corporate culture, operations, or management depending on the particular needs. Those organizations that resist implementing changes because of their challenges and barriers can lose the competitive advantage, and they cannot address the tendencies in global development (Cameron & McNaughtan, 2014).
From this point, the organizational change can be discussed as both a beneficial and challenging process, and the success depends on the leaders’ capacity to manage the change effectively (Lord, Dinh, & Hoffman, 2015). Governmental organizations in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates, also tend to respond to the government’s focus on innovation and change and manage the organizational alternations appropriately (Dubai Smart Government Establishment, 2015). Therefore, it is significant to focus on the experience of Dubai’s governmental organizations in implementing the change.
Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) is one of the recently established governmental entities in Dubai that is an actively developed organization oriented to improving the transport services and associated policies in the Emirate. RTA was organized to address the recent trends in the Emirate’s growth while focusing on innovations in the transport services and development of the Government of Dubai (Dubai Roads and Transport Authority, 2015; Oxford Business Group, 2014).
This organization has the experience in implementing the change to improve the structure and processes, and it can be referred to while analyzing the overall approach of Dubai authorities in managing the change. From this perspective, it is important to answer the following question in this paper: What approaches can contribute to managing the organizational change in governmental agencies of Dubai with the focus on RTA’s experience? The purpose of this project is to analyze the concept of organizational change in the context of RTA in Dubai with a focus on effective and ineffective approaches to change management and provide conclusions regarding the most appropriate strategies to complete the change and achieve the set goals.
Dubai Roads and Transport Authority: Background Information
Roads and Transport Authority or RTA was established in Dubai in 2005. The Government of Dubai adopted the decree according to which several governmental entities responsible for controlling the transport services and transportation operations in the Emirate were united in one organization (Dubai Roads and Transport Authority, 2015). RTA became responsible for developing policies to regulate the transport services, launching projects to improve the current services, formulating strategies for the agency’s growth, and managing all the operations associated with the sphere of transport in Dubai. From this point, the structure of RTA is based on “the agency model” (Perry, 2013, p. 197).
There are three sectors and six agencies in RTA. Each agency is headed by the CEO when the whole organization is headed and managed by the RTA President, Board of Directors, and Executives (Figure 1). Currently, RTA unites the Licensing Agency, the Public Transport Agency, the Traffic and Roads Agency, the Rail Agency, and Dubai Taxi. RTA controls the work of all roads, Dubai Metro, railroads, and marine networks (Dubai Government: Roads and Transport Authority, 2015).
Therefore, RTA regularly launches projects to improve the work of transportation systems and address the traffic issues. In spite of the fact that agencies in RTA provide the strategies, as well as the actual planning and monitoring for the concrete transport network, their activities are connected and controlled by executives of RTA.
Since 2005, all these agencies have used different information and technology systems in order to maintain their operations and interactions. Each agency and its departments had their own systems for controlling the processes and sharing the information that was often not compatible in order to guarantee the effective cooperation of these entities (Dubai Roads and Transport Authority, 2015).
RTA had to manage the variety of technology sub-systems to guarantee the independent, as well as the collaborative work of agencies (Al Madani & Bahrozyan, 2013). As a result, the challenges in managing and supporting the systems were observed. Being organized as a single unit to control Dubai’s transport network, RTA lacked the effective coordination of activities in terms of sharing the electronic data, documents and using the same information systems (Oxford Business Group, 2014).
From this point, RTA experienced difficulties in proposing the integrated solutions and plans that are required when the complex project is developed, and several agencies and departments are involved in the process. In 2009, the CEO of Corporate Technical Support Services of RTA initiated the change associated with the integration of the principle of IT governance in the work of the governmental entity in order to address the problems connected with the lack of the unified IT system adopted in the organization (Al Madani & Bahrozyan, 2013; Dubai Government: Roads and Transport Authority, 2015). In addition, the change was promoted by authorities in the context of implementing innovative projects and the e-Government system in Dubai.
Organizational Change: Review of the Literature
Organizations choose the path of organizational development and change implementation when they experience the pressure of internal or external factors. According to Ulen (2010), under the impact of external factors, the authorities or leaders can decide on implementing change when the organization needs to address the economic aspects, increase competitiveness, demonstrate its flexibility, and adapt to the altered contexts.
The economic factors influence the organization while making the leaders choose new ways of increasing the profits and commercial successes (Lord et al., 2015). Internal pressures include the necessity of reorganizing the culture, structure, processes, management, technologies, and communications in the organization (Cameron & McNaughtan, 2014; Ulen, 2010). From this perspective, the necessity of a change is typical of public, semi-public, and private organizations, and the difference is in the impact of external and internal factors on the organizational strategies and processes. The need for change can be observed in the competitive market, and it is a characteristic feature of private businesses. Moreover, it can be observed in the governmental sector when the state aims at improving the processes used in public organizations (Hossan, 2015; Lord et al., 2015).
According to Voet, Groeneveld, and Kuipers (2014), the changes in the public sector “are aimed at making government organizations more efficient, cost-effective, and client-oriented” (p. 172). Thus, while being influenced by internal and external factors, authorities view the change as an approach to surviving the problematic situation and achieving gains (Hidenori, 2015). Hossan (2015) notes that it is also important to perceive change implementation as the path to organizational progress because such perception guarantees success during the change management process.
The researchers identify such two main types of organizational change as planned and emergent ones that can be discussed as different in terms of setting goals and objectives of the change process in advance or immediately after the change becomes noticeable. Voet et al. (2014) state that planned changes are implemented for the concrete purpose of improving the current state in the organization when emergent changes have the features of adapting to the observed trends and contexts. According to Kurt Lewin’s model of the planned change process, the main stages include the unfreezing, moving, and refreezing ones (Hossan, 2015).
At the first stage, the process of unfreezing is observed in terms of preparing the organization and people for the following change while communicating the vision and composing the team to work on the process. Employees receive important information about the project and the meaning of the change. As a result, they become prepared for further behavioral changes that are expected to be observed at the moving stage, according to Lewin’s model.
The moving stage is characterized by the actual implementation of change in the organization (Hossan, 2015, p. 58). The final stage is important to evaluate the observed results and propose improvements. When Lewin’s model is effectively implemented in the organization, managers receive an opportunity to plan all stages and review or assess the results according to the set measures.
Another model that is used for implementing the change in the business is the five-stage model of organizational development (Brown & Harvey, 2011). The main stages of this model are anticipating the need, developing the practitioner-receiver relationships, providing the diagnosis, implementing the change, and reviewing the results. Fragouli and Ibidapo (2015) state that this model has the features of action research, and it is appropriate for both incremental and radical changes.
The five-stage model of the organizational development enables managers to complete the effective analysis or diagnosis of the problem and the need for change before planning the possible strategy of the change implementation (Brown & Harvey, 2011; Cameron & McNaughtan, 2014). Moreover, this model orients to the active cooperation of all persons involved in the project because of adopting the principles of the action research.
Thus, the organizational change can be classified with the focus on the scope as incremental or transformational or as operational and strategic. The researchers use these different terms in order to distinguish between changes that are rather small in their scales and related to the limited improvements and changes that are large-scale and focused on changing the strategic pattern (Fragouli & Ibidapo, 2015; Hossan, 2015).
In order to decrease the resistance of employees and expect positive results, it is necessary to determine the scope of the change necessary for the organizational development and choose the appropriate model to follow (Cameron & McNaughtan, 2014; Hidenori, 2015). Different scopes of the change influence the selection of approaches that can be effective in the concrete case. As a result, the identification of the scope and context is an important task before planning the change implementation.
The successful change process can also become a reality for the organization if managers pay attention to influencing the employees’ mind-sets. Lawson and Price (2014) note that the organizational change is a situation that makes employees alter their typical behaviors according to the needs of the change, and the overall process becomes resisted by the person who does not understand its objectives or does not share the vision. Voet et al. (2014) claim that employees are usually not ready to adopt, implement, and follow the changes. Lawson and Price (2014) state that in most cases, the problem is observed because of the internal processes and failures in managing the change as part of the systematic process.
Hossan (2015) states that the success of the change management can be observed in those cases when managers adapt the whole process, culture, or procedures to the implemented change. The focus should be on a systematic or holistic approach in order to achieve high results. When the change initiative is proposed, the change team should present an effective plan for the change implementation that reflects all the details of the process (Cameron & McNaughtan, 2014; Voet et al., 2014). In this context, the planned change can lead to the most effective outcomes.
When leaders choose to communicate the necessity of the change effectively, using the appropriate messages and channels, employees can react to the expected change process more actively. According to Hidenori (2015), a good leader needs to use communication skills in order to demonstrate the benefits of the change for the organization and ensure reaching positive results after the change implementation process.
The task is to create and affect the employees’ positive attitudes to the implemented change. Employees need to become aware of their skills and capacities to cope with the change, and a leader should develop their self-efficacy and confidence (Lawson & Price, 2014). One more important factor is the control and evaluation of the launched processes or changes (Cameron & McNaughtan, 2014; Voet et al., 2014). It is important for the leader to understand how effectively the change process is conducted and whether the expected outcomes can be achieved.
The technology improvements are often implemented as the organizational change for the purpose of enhancing the interaction, the information exchange, and the overall interconnectivity of departments and teams. The creation of unified systems, technological standards, security policies, standardized databases, and effective communication channels provides organizations with the potential for not only incremental but also transformational or strategic change (Allen, Brown, Karanasios, & Norman, 2013).
Labatut, Aggeri, and Girard (2012) note that the changes associated with the implementation of new technologies are most often result in the employees’ resistance and unwillingness to accept the alternations in processes, policies, and duties. One of the causes leading to failure during the change implementation process is the inappropriate development of the stage of preparing the employees for accepting the change.
The problem is in the fact that many persons lack the developed computer skills, or they lack the required experience in working with the information and communication technologies in order to accept the technical change easily. Therefore, much attention should be paid to the analysis of approaches used in RTA for implementing the organizational change associated with the technology improvements as the process is rather challenging.
Data on Technology Change in Dubai Roads and Transport Authority
Information technology governance as a system implemented in RTA and realized as the change project is based on the idea that governance of different agencies and entities can be performed with the focus on the active use of technologies and available innovations in the sphere of information management and communication (Dubai Smart Government Establishment, 2015; Worku, 2013). Currently, the Government of Dubai continues promoting the strategy of focusing on e-Transformation and e-Government in all areas.
The focus is on the improvement and automation of the launched systems in order to increase the use of electronic resources and achieve a high level of connectivity (Dubai eGovernment, 2013; Oxford Business Group, 2014). From this perspective, the infrastructure of governmental agencies, their systems, internal operations, and the proposed services are modified in the context of e-Government policies to achieve a more efficient performance that is in line with the global trends in the sphere.
The review and analysis of the RTA documentation were selected as the main methods to investigate the processes associated with managing the organizational change in this governmental entity. In order to meet the purpose of the project and find the answers to the set research question, it was necessary to examine the corporate information related to the RTA projects and retrieve the documents on the implementation of the principles of e-Government in the United Arab Emirates and the launch of the technology or IT governance system in RTA (Al Madani & Bahrozyan, 2013; Dubai Roads and Transport Authority, 2015; Worku, 2013).
As a result, for the purpose of the organizational change analysis, the information on e-Government systems in Dubai and the development of the RTA technology governance project were collected and examined in order to conclude on the effectiveness of the used approaches to managing the change.
Organizational Change in Dubai Roads and Transport Authority: Information Technology Governance
In the late part of the 2000s, the Government of Dubai focused on implementing several projects in the context of creating the Smart Government and Smart City. One of these projects was the implementation of the e-Government system in order to improve the interaction between the governmental agencies and between the government representatives and citizens. The e-Government system and technologies were proposed to enhance the provision of services by different governmental entities in terms of time, speed, efficiency, and quality (Dubai Smart Government Establishment, 2015).
In addition to implementing the basic governmental requirements associated with the transition to the e-Government system, RTA also focused on improving the approach to the corporate governance and interaction between the agencies and technology teams in the entity (Dubai Government: Roads and Transport Authority, 2015; Worku, 2013). The change is process-oriented to developing the technology or IT governance system in RTA was started in 2009 in the context of the technological consolidation of the information exchange and processes control (Dubai Roads and Transport Authority, 2015).
Scope and Context for the Change
The organizational change can be analyzed in terms of its scope or magnitude, context, and focus. According to the scope, changes can be incremental or providing improvements to the existing structures, systems, cultures, and processes or transformational ones that provide the complex modification of all main processes in the organization. The purpose of this change is to alter the strategies and directions that are followed by the entity (Fragouli & Ibidapo, 2015; Hossan, 2015).
The decision regarding the implementation of the information technology governance principles in RTA can be viewed as an incremental change because it was directed toward improving the existing system of manipulating the data and exchanging the information with the help of computer systems without affecting the overall strategy of this governmental organization. In order to guarantee the high-quality collaboration of agencies in RTA, it was important to improve the technologies and methods used (Al Madani & Bahrozyan, 2013; Worku, 2013). As a result, the focus on information technology governance was selected as the incremental change in this organization.
While referring to the context of the change, it is possible to identify the planned or justified changes, as well as unplanned or emergent changes. The researchers differentiate the contexts focusing on the expected results and factors that influence the process of change management (Hossan, 2015; Voet et al., 2014). The implementation of the information technology governance in RTA is a planned and justified change that was proposed by the CEO of Corporate Technical Support Services as the reaction to the overall implementation of the e-Government system in the public agencies of Dubai (Dubai Smart Government Establishment, 2015; Dubai Roads and Transport Authority, 2015; Hossan, 2015).
It was found that the administration of the work of RTA agencies and the interaction between departments could be improved with the focus on the technology governance, and the IT teams from different agencies worked under the leadership of the CEO of Corporate Technical Support Services to propose the information technology governance project that would be appropriate for the implementation in RTA.
Organization Development Interventions to Manage the Change
The five-stage model for organizational development and change is based on the principles of action research. It includes such stages as the needs assessment, the specific establishment of the relationship between the participants of the project, the provision of the diagnosis based on the gathered data, the action and the implementation of strategies, and the reflection on the process and results (Brown & Harvey, 2011). These stages need to be discussed in detail with the focus on the steps made in RTA in order to implement the organizational change.
They were anticipating the Need for Change
During the first stage, the initiators of the change process state that certain modifications are required. They also can complete the needs assessment in order to evaluate the current progress of the organization and propose possible changes to improve the results (Brown & Harvey, 2011). In RTA, the need for change became observed when the Government of Dubai shifted to the next step in implementing the e-Government project (Dubai Government: Roads and Transport Authority, 2015). It was found that RTA has successfully passed the initial stage of the organizational formation in 2005-2006 while creating a unique approach to governance in the RTA agencies.
In 2007-2008, the used governance systems developed for each agency in RTA, and the representatives of different departments cooperated in order to complete the projects and realize the strategic goals of the organization (Dubai Roads and Transport Authority, 2015). In 2009, it became obvious that the used governance systems are not consolidated and unified to achieve higher results. The analysis of the past results enabled the practitioners to understand the necessity of the change, and this stage was completed successfully for RTA.
They were developing Practitioner-Client Relationship
The actors implementing the change in the organization are expected to build the positive relationship with the change recipients. In a situation when governmental organizations initiate the change, the recipients are often the employees, and the task of the practitioner is to build the cooperative relationship with them in order to guarantee that the change will be accepted (Brown & Harvey, 2011).
CEO of Technical Support Services Agency and Strategy and CEO of Corporate Governance Agency of RTA performed as practitioners whose role was to form the working Committee, to develop the project, to persuade the agencies’ teams to adopt the change, and to implement the modifications. It is possible to state that the developed hierarchy and the clear distribution of responsibilities among practitioners contributed to building their cooperative relationships with the change recipients in the context of RTA (Dubai Roads and Transport Authority, 2015).
However, in addition to internal practitioners including CEOs, there were also external practitioners who were invited as IT specialists and joined the IT teams in RTA (Oxford Business Group, 2014). It was important to invite the IT specialists for implementing the change in RTA because of the necessity to provide the technological base and resources and guarantee the required training for employees.
The Diagnostic Phase
In 2009, CEO of Technical Support Services Agency and Strategy, CEO of Corporate Governance Agency, and the IT specialists of these agencies of RTA analyzed the governance processes in the governmental organization in the context of the implemented e-Government projects. The specialists in the sphere of information and communication technologies collected the feedbacks provided by directors, managers, and employees on the use of different systems and the level of interaction between the agencies of RTA (Dubai Roads and Transport Authority, 2015).
It was found that the level of the systems’ compatibility was low, the exchange of data was limited, the costs of managing several systems were high, and the level of integrating the technology into governance was also minimal, creating more risks for the management and supervision in the organization.
The project team concluded that the improvement of the system was required in order to decrease costs of managing several separate IT systems; make the used IT systems compatible; enhance the exchange electronic information and data; increase security; improve the management and control; develop the technological potential; simplify the main processes and the interaction between agencies (Al Madani & Bahrozyan, 2013; Perry, 2013, p. 197).
The further focus on the governmental agency’s needs made the project team concentrate on the analysis of the other agencies’ approaches to coping with the similar situations. Such results of the diagnostic phase in the organization development process can be discussed as effective as the practitioners can succeed in identifying the problem, as well as its causes, and possible ways of solution (Ulen, 2010). In spite of the fact that the shift to the information technology governance was initially discussed as the important change in the organization, it was significant for the practitioners to analyze the real needs for the implementation during the diagnostic phase.
Action and Implementation
The initiation of the prolonged project regarding the shift to the information technology governance in RTA meant the creation of the strong cooperative team known as the Higher Committee for Technology Governance. The Committee was headed by CEO of Technical Support Services agency and Strategy and CEO of Corporate Governance agency, and it also included the IT services directors. The members of the Committee were expected to report the results of the project implementation to Chairman of the RTA Board, as well as executives.
The Committee included such sub-groups as the Applications Governance, Disaster Recovery, and Automated Data Collection (Al Madani & Bahrozyan, 2013; Dubai Roads and Transport Authority, 2015). Thus, the Committee was organized to develop the information technology governance basis for RTA while creating the standard applications and programs for agencies to improve the operations and the information flow (Dubai Roads and Transport Authority, 2015). The organization of the Committee allowed developing the effective communication with IT specialists from different agencies who communicated the project ideas to the other employees as change recipients.
After organizing the Committee, the action plan for the period of 2009-2014 was proposed. During the period of 2009-2010, the focus was on developing the applications and unified systems in order to guarantee the implementation of first elements of the technology governance based on the existing systems in RTA. The technical aspects of the change project were addressed at this stage (Dubai Roads and Transport Authority, 2015).
Several tests were performed in order to choose the most effective system for RTA. The organization worked with the partners of the Government of Dubai to implement the most effective system and ICT (information and communication technologies) model in the context of the e-Government project (Perry, 2013). The training of employees was also planned and realized during that period of time.
This step is important to guarantee that the staff can accept the change appropriately and with the minimal level of resistance. In 2011-2013, the information technology governance worked while basing on the implemented IT system, and the possible weaknesses and drawbacks in the framework were identified for the further optimization of the process. The change project team focused on developing the appropriate databases to use them by the agencies’ employees and unified e-service channels to use them by specialists contacting customers and RTA clients (Dubai Government: Roads and Transport Authority, 2015). It is important to note that for the easy use, the proposed systems were implemented in both Arabic and English languages.
Having analyzed the results of the implementation stage, it is possible to note that the achievements addressed the set goals, and the effective strategies were proposed for the gradual integration of the information technology governance systems in the RTA agencies in order to improve the management and performance and reduce risks and costs (Al Madani & Bahrozyan, 2013; Oxford Business Group, 2014). The effectiveness of the technology governance intervention was planned to be measured with the focus on changes in the compatibility, the performance of employees, the time for completing projects, the interaction, and the collaboration of agencies of RTA.
Review and Monitoring
As the implementation of the system was realized during several years, the monitoring of outcomes and successes was performed several times during the process. In 2010, the review of the change implementation was based on measuring the performance results focusing on the overall achievements associated with the e-Government project in Dubai. The conclusions allowed the further development of the unified technology governance system in 2011.
The stabilization of the change process and its full acceptance were observed during the period of 2012-2013 (Al Madani & Bahrozyan, 2013; Worku, 2013). In 2014, the information technology governance system was revised and optimized according to the recommendations of the corporate governance consultants and the IT specialists. The final conclusions regarding the successes of the implemented information technology governance were also made in 2014 (Oxford Business Group, 2014). It is possible to state that the project was mostly completed in 2014, but the RTA authorities pay attention to the constant reviewing of the progress and improving the systems in the form of emergent changes.
Organizational Change Outcomes
As a result of the change implementation, the governance system of RTA was transformed, and currently, the approach of the information technology governance is used in the governmental entity. All the agencies of RTA are united with the help of using the same information and communication system and applications. The external data coming from customers, partners, and other governmental organizations, as well as the traffic data and information from the private companies, reaches the database through the use of adapters and the method of registering and transforming the data (Al Madani & Bahrozyan, 2013).
The received information can also be adapted in the form of messages for different agencies of RTA (Dubai Government: Roads and Transport Authority, 2015). The authorized internal users have the access to all the data related to RTA activities, and they can use, manage, modify, and exchange them according to the standards, policies, and technical recommendations provided by the IT teams in each agency and department of RTA (Dubai Roads and Transport Authority, 2015). This approach guarantees the effective work with the data, the implementation of the governmental policies for mentoring and control, and the paperless easily managed governance (Figure 2).
The main outcomes of the change implementation identified by the Committee during the reviewing and evaluation processes in 2013 and 2014 were the following ones: the standardization of the internal communication, interaction, and data exchange; the improved performance associated with the use of databases and management of data; the facilitated interaction with customers because of the active integration of the e-services; and the reduction of the costs associated with the management of separate information and communication systems and technologies (Dubai Roads and Transport Authority, 2015; Oxford Business Group, 2014).
The specialists and executives of RTA also noticed the improvement of the paperless document exchange and the effective integration of the information technology governance in RTA in the context of the e-Government project with the work of such agencies and entities as Department of Economic Development and Dubai Municipality (Al Madani & Bahrozyan, 2013; Dubai Roads and Transport Authority, 2015). From this perspective, the shift to the technology governance in RTA led to improving the operations and processes in the governmental agency.
While discussing the organizational change outcomes, it is also important to note that the positive results of the governance improvements were associated with the focus of the RTA authorities on the implementation of the best systems and standards to support the organizational change. The external IT specialists and the members of the IT teams in RTA referred to the Control Objectives for Information and Related Technology (COBIT) model, as well as to the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) guidelines while developing and implementing the new ICT system and applications in order to avoid the risks related to incompatibility, security and privacy issues along with multiple technical risks (Al Madani & Bahrozyan, 2013; Dubai Roads and Transport Authority, 2015).
As a result, the effectiveness of the implemented organizational change was guaranteed. Additionally, the gradual change allowed the detailed monitoring of the process for the purpose its immediate improvement according to the RTA’s needs and followed standards.
Analysis of the Change Process and Suggestions
The successfulness of the change process can be affected by a variety of external factors, undesirable contingencies, and outside impacts. The researchers determine economic crises, the high level of competitiveness in the industry, and the global changes among them (Lord et al., 2015; Ulen, 2010). Nevertheless, the change process is also significantly influenced by the internal factors, including the communication, the employees’ resistance, and the speed of the change implementation and acceptance.
While analyzing the outcomes of RTA in implementing the organizational change and integrating the principles of the information technology governance, it is important to state that the agency’s leaders effectively followed the five-stage model of the organizational development, and their approaches contributed to achieving the positive results (Brown & Harvey, 2011). Referring to the analysis of RTA’s experience in implementing the change and integrating the information technology governance in the entity, it is possible to determine the approaches that can be discussed as contributing to managing the organizational change in the governmental organization, as well as observed challenges and barriers.
Effective Approaches Contributing to Managing the Organizational Change
The effective approaches used by the Committee included the focus on open communication strategies to inform the team members about the goals and expected outcomes of the change implementation. The CEO of Technical Support Services agency and Strategy and CEO of Corporate Governance agency communicated openly with the heads of the Applications Governance, Disaster Recovery, Automated Data Collection groups in order to develop the action plan, and the leaders of these groups used the top-down communication to share the ideas and tasks with the groups’ members (Dubai Roads and Transport Authority, 2015).
Such variation of communication strategies allowed the appropriate distribution of duties and the responsibilities in order to control each step of the change process effectively with the focus on reports of the responsible leaders (Allen et al., 2013; Cameron & McNaughtan, 2014).
The purpose of the manager at the first stages of unfreezing or anticipating the need for change and building the relationship between practitioners and changer receivers is to persuade employees to accept the change and guarantee the active involvement of the personnel in the process (Lawson & Price, 2014). This task is also performed during the first steps of the implementation stage when all employees should be effectively informed on the organization’s path in order to accept the necessity of training and learning new processes associated with the change implementation.
From this perspective, the communication of managers and employees during the change implementation and management is an important aspect, and it directly affects the success of the change process (Hidenori, 2015). In RTA, the communication during the change implementation process can be assessed as rather effective because not only the members of the project team who planned and implemented the change were involved in the process but the change recipients such as representatives of different departments also shared the idea that the change was necessary.
The communication of the change vision became a positive result of the strategy used by the change leaders who gave employees the adequate information about the change process, put the change in the context of the wider e-Government project, and involved the representatives of all agencies of RTA in the planning of the change implementation as messengers.
The speed with which leaders aim to implement the change in the organization can also influence the results. Complex projects such as the integration of the new technology governance system should be based on the gradual implementation along with the usage of the previous practices and procedures (Cameron & McNaughtan, 2014). Therefore, the planned changes are more appropriate in public organizations because they are based on the stable environments, and they are effectively organized (Hidenori, 2015).
In this situation, facing the planned but long-term change, the employees receive an opportunity to adapt to the change and alter their mind-sets gradually and without stress (Lawson & Price, 2014). Thus, innovative approaches to processes and procedures should be implemented in line with the training and active use of familiar systems and resources because of the necessity to provide employees with the time to adjust to changes.
In RTA, the Committee developed the long-term and properly planned project in order to shift to the use of the information technology governance in the organization. The change implementation that was divided into steps lasted six years, and employees could gradually adapt to all implemented technological improvements. As a result, one more effective approach is the gradual character of the change implementation in governmental organizations. Each stage should have concrete short-term goals associated with the change project’s long-term goal.
One of the effective approaches to encouraging employees to accept the change is the demonstration of expected results and associated benefits with the help of training. Organizing seminars for employees on the use of e-Government technologies, RTA provided the grounds for understanding the meaning and advantages of implementing the change in the organization with references to the experience of other governmental agencies (Voet et al., 2014).
Training for RTA employees was also the necessary measure to guarantee the behavioral changes and adoption of the proposed improvements. Employees received an opportunity to develop their skills and capacities regarding the use of computers and other technologies (Lawson & Price, 2014). It is important to note that training is a necessary process when employees become involved in the process of change in order to decrease the level of pressure and stress associated with the necessity to use new technologies, new procedures, and demonstrate new skills.
The focus on the holistic approach while managing the change in RTA can also be viewed as an effective strategy used by the Committee. In spite of the fact that the shift to the technology governance is the incremental change because the work and strategies of RTA were not transformed, but improved, the systematic or holistic approach is important to be followed in order to achieve the high results (Oxford Business Group, 2014).
The Committee coordinating the change implementation decided to divide the complex stages of the process into steps in spite of referring to the complete picture of the expected change (Al Madani & Bahrozyan, 2013). As a result, the decisions made by the Committee leaders were related to both completing the long-term goals and to the short-term tasks and objectives (Cameron & McNaughtan, 2014; Ulen, 2010).
The managers had the opportunity to select the most appropriate strategies to follow while implementing the change at each concrete stage while focusing on the holistic approach and vision of the full picture of the change project’s results. Those organizations which can integrate holistic approaches and the implementation of the incremental change can expect positive outcomes because their plan to reach the goals is usually detailed and properly developed (Hossan, 2015). RTA achieved the high results in the implementation of the change because the holistic approach was adapted to the necessity of managing the incremental change in the organization.
Challenges in the Organizational Change Process
In spite of the fact that RTA used the effective approaches to implementing and managing the change, it is possible to identify the factors and situations that can be discussed as challenging for the change project team. Challenges associated with the change implementation in the governmental organizations often include the scope and time necessary for the project completion. Moreover, there can be a necessity to transform and improve the dated systems or processes and train the employees to adopt the new ones (Labatut et al., 2012).
As a result, it is possible to observe the resistance of the staff to the change. Risks associated with the resistance to change are most typical of governmental agencies because procedures in these organizations are highly regulated, and employees are more conservative than in the private sector (Voet et al., 2014). Consequently, leaders need to pay more attention to the employees’ mind-sets (Lawson & Price, 2014). Managers often can fail to assess the scope and needs of the organization, they can select weak change models to be implemented in the agency, they can become unable to overcome the resistance to the change processes, or they can demonstrate the poor monitoring and control of the change stages (Fragouli & Ibidapo, 2015; Worku, 2013).
The problem is also in the fact that governmental agencies choose to implement only the most effective principles and technologies that were tested in the other countries or sectors. Therefore, the process of the change implementation also depends on the prolonged analysis of the project or system’s effectiveness in order to conclude about the necessity of implementing the system or an approach in the concrete organization.
For the case of RTA, the time and scope were referred to appropriately as the planned change process with the properly developed timeframe was proposed. In addition, the agency decided on implementing the change in the governance only after analyzing the possibilities and advantages of using e-Government resources and similar systems in other entities. As a result, the challenge is also in the fact that the possibilities to implement the most innovative systems in RTA are limited as leaders choose to conduct the complex analysis of the system’s effectiveness and outcomes. It was important to effectively assess the e-Government strategies and tools before starting the change implementation process.
From this point, the challenges faced by the Committee included the variety of management issues observed during the first stages of the implementation process. The integration of the innovative technological base to support the governance in RTA indicated weaknesses in managing the complex technological process in the governmental agency oriented to the use of traditional methods of governance. In spite of the fact that the change was incremental and did not involve the strategic aspects, the change project team also faced a problem of balancing the strategic goals of RTA with the necessity of implementing the complex system for the information technology governance (Al Madani & Bahrozyan, 2013).
The necessity of adapting the outdated systems to the new one and integrating the appropriate applications for the technology governance in all agencies of RTA caused the need for inviting external practitioners to develop the technological base, propose software, and the system to implement. As a result, the Committee and other members of the change project team were challenged with the need for building the relationship for the effective cooperation with external actors.
In order to address the identified challenges, the Committee took the responsibility for providing the additional seminars and training for the staff and developing the appropriate funding plan in order to guarantee the availability of all resources to implement the change within the set time framework (Al Madani & Bahrozyan, 2013). All the identified challenges were addressed almost immediately after the reviewing and monitoring process that was conducted during several stages.
Suggestions to Improve the Approaches in Managing the Change
The success of the change implementation depends on setting the adequate goals and determining appropriate deadlines for completing the stages of the organization development process. In addition, the leaders chose to implement the best practices used in the industry with the focus on the experience of other governmental agencies and states in integrating the principles of the information technology governance.
The strategies and techniques that are most appropriate for the context of RTA in Dubai were selected for the further implementation, and the fact that these strategies were previously tested in other governmental agencies allowed focuses on benchmarking to monitor the change process effectively (Dubai eGovernment, 2013). According to Fragouli and Ibidapo (2015), the detailed analysis of the previously used practices and strategies for the implementation is important in order to predict possible barriers to the change and propose the risk management plan.
The suggestions for enhancing the used approaches and implementing the further incremental changes in RTA and similar governmental entities in Dubai include focusing more on the communication between external practitioners, internal practitioners, and change recipients. On the one hand, the use of two different approaches to managing the communication during the change implementation process was an effective approach for RTA (Al Madani & Bahrozyan, 2013).
On the other hand, the elements of the hierarchal communication should be minimal in order to guarantee that all change recipients accept the need for alternations and share the vision proclaimed by the leaders of the change process (Ulen, 2010). Therefore, the provision of more information and the shift to the open communication in most cases can be reasonable. According to Hidenori (2015), communications of the project team members should be regular and properly organized with the focus on utilizing different channels.
The cooperation of the responsible Committee and sub-groups can be more productive if the formal and informal communication is realized with the help of face-to-face meetings; conferences, including online conferences; written communication, including memorandums and reports; electronic communication, using e-mails and messages (Brown & Harvey, 2011). Although the communication of actors during the change implementation process was rather effective, this aspect should always be addressed with much focus, and the key suggestions are proposed to improve this area in order to predict the employees’ resistance in the future.
The important strategy to prevent the situations of resisting to changes is the use of role models in order to motivate employees to follow the behavioral patterns demonstrated by their leaders. The key suggestion for governmental agencies is to increase the motivation of employees to adopt the change in the public sector is to refer to CEOs and governmental authorities as role models who use the advantages of the change process and support the idea that the change can be both effective and beneficial (Fragouli & Ibidapo, 2015; Voet et al., 2014).
When RTA communicated the necessity of shifting to the information technology governance, the attention was drawn to accentuating the positive experience of other governmental agencies in Dubai that chose the technology governance (Al Madani & Bahrozyan, 2013; Dubai eGovernment, 2013). However, less attention was paid to demonstrating how the members of the Committee and leaders applied the new technologies and what skills they developed to achieve the higher results. This approach is important to increase the motivation of employees to work harder during the process of the change implementation as the potential, and positive results of the modernization are observed.
Another suggestion is associated with the proposition to revise the approach to planning the change for the future projects. In spite of the fact that RTA implemented the planned incremental change that was rather long-term and included several stages, such approach can be viewed as too complex for less significant projects. Currently, the RTA actively uses the technology governance, and different technological processes are effectively applied in the agency to coordinate its work and internal and external interactions (Al Madani & Bahrozyan, 2013; Dubai Roads and Transport Authority, 2015).
However, the focus on identifying more sub-projects to implement the change can be referred to in the future. The organization leaders can be more reactive to the processes and employees’ reactions observed during the change management. From this point, the change should be managed with the focus on the external environments and actual attitudes of employees to the process (Lord et al., 2015). The overall results of managing the change in the public sector can be viewed as positive.
In the 2000s, the Government of Dubai initiated the e-Government project that involved all governmental entities. The purpose of the project was the higher utilization of innovative tools, resources, and technologies in order to guarantee the high-quality interactions between agencies, departments, and employees. As a result, governmental entities in Dubai launched the change projects for the purpose of applying the advanced technologies to their regular procedures.
Roads and Transport Authority of Dubai chose to implement the information technology governance with the task of unifying the ICT system in the agency and providing the employees with the high-level data exchange. The implementation of the change was started in 2009, and its final stages were observed in 2014 when the managers of the change project focused on the optimization of goals, resources, and processes. The new technology governance system was effectively integrated into the work of all agencies in RTA in order to provide the easy and efficient communication and interaction between employees of different agencies.
While focusing on the approaches that can be discussed as effective to contribute to the change management in the governmental organization, it is important to mention such practices and strategies as the reference to the open communication to share the vision and persuade the employees to accept the change and paying much attention to the planning of the change project with the focus on its scope, timeframe, and associated environments.
The other practices are the provision of the training for all employees in order to improve their skills in working with the implemented technologies and the provision of all necessary technological and financial resources in order to guarantee the long-term implementation and management of the change without any delays. Moreover, among the strong features of the change management observed in RTA, it is possible to accentuate the reference to the international standards and principles, as well as the integration of the previously tested best practices.
These approaches and strategies used by the Committee can be viewed as important to manage the change in the problematic context of the public sector because the focus should be on the motivation of employees to accept technologies and possibilities of the RTA leaders to provide all required resources to implement the innovation in the form of the organizational change.
It is important to state that the technological changes are often discussed as the most challenging ones to be implemented in organizations, especially, the governmental organizations and agencies because the innovative nature of the change makes the conservative employees working in the public sector adapt to new processes, practices, and tools. However, in Dubai, the implementation of the e-Government and e-Transformation project provided the grounds for the further change implementation in all governmental agencies of the Emirate.
In this context, the success of RTA in managing the change depends on the effective utilization of all provided resources, the cooperation of internal and external IT specialists, and the effective development of the inter- and intra-organizational channels and relationships.
While concluding about the effectiveness of the change management process in RTA, it is possible to state that the managers of the agency successfully realized their goals, and they used an opportunity to properly determine the plan and timeframe for the work in order to achieve the higher results. Such challenges as the lack of communication, the lack of training, and the ineffective planning were addressed at the first stages of the change project development. Although the shift to the information technology governance is also associated with a range of barriers, the specialists of RTA succeeded in making the change acceptable and beneficial for the organization.
Allen, D., Brown, A., Karanasios, S., & Norman, A. (2013). How should technology-mediated organizational change be explained? A comparison of the contributions of critical realism and activity theory. MIS Quarterly, 37(3), 835-854.
Al Madani, A., & Bahrozyan, A. (2013). RTA Technology Governance. Web.
Brown, D. R., & Harvey, D. (2011). An experiential approach to organization development. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.
Cameron, K., & McNaughtan, J. (2014). Positive organizational change. The Journal of Applied Behavioral Science, 50(4), 445-462.
Dubai eGovernment. (2013). e4all: eVisions. Web.
Dubai Government: Roads and Transport Authority. (2015). Web.
Dubai Roads and Transport Authority. (2015). Web.
Dubai Smart Government Establishment. (2015). Web.
Fragouli, E., & Ibidapo, B. (2015). Leading in crisis: Leading organizational change & business development. International Journal of Information, Business and Management, 7(3), 71-90.
Hidenori, S. (2015). Organizational change and temporal myopia. Annals of Business Administrative Science, 14(6), 323-333.
Hossan, C. (2015). Applicability of Lewin’s change management theory in Australian local government. International Journal of Business and Management, 10(6), 53-65.
Labatut, J., Aggeri, F., & Girard, N. (2012). Discipline and change: How technologies and organizational routines interact in new practice creation. Organization Studies, 33(1), 39-69.
Lawson, E., & Price, C. (2014). The psychology of change management. McKinsey Quarterly, 6(1), 30-41.
Lord, R. G., Dinh, J. E., & Hoffman, E. L. (2015). A quantum approach to time and organizational change. Academy of Management Review, 40(2), 263-290.
Oxford Business Group. (2014). The report: Dubai 2014. London, UK: Author.
Perry, M. P. (2013). Business driven PMO success stories: Across industries and around the world. London, UK: J. Ross Publishing.
Ulen, T. S. (2010). Responding to change: Internal and external factors in organizational success. Journal of Institutional Economics, 6(1), 133-137.
Voet, J., Groeneveld, S., & Kuipers, B. S. (2014). Talking the talk or walking the walk? The leadership of planned and emergent change in a public organization. Journal of Change Management, 14(2), 171-191.
Worku, G. B. (2013). Demand for improved public transport services in the UAE: A contingent valuation study in Dubai. International Journal of Business and Management, 8(10), 108-120.