In reviewing the main theories of strategic and change management the work of Burnes (1996), Bamford and Forrester (2003) and By (2005) was helpful in assessing and critically comparing conflicting and usually prescriptive models. Characteristics of each of these approaches and their limitations is outlined in Table 1, and identifies why they may have been adopted or rejected. These theories have been criticised for lacking empirical evidence (By 2005).
The practical Eight-Stage Process developed by Kotter (1996) perhaps best resonates with the strategic planning undertaken by the Project Team and I will use his model as a basis for analysing the stages involved. Kotter stresses that restructuring programmes only succeed when guided by visions that appeal to those with a stake in the enterprise. He cautions that “changing the culture” should be the outcome of the strategic process, not the starting point (Kotter 1996, p. 156).
Burnes (1996), Bamford and Forrester (2003) and By (2005) all suggest that theories should only be seen as guidelines and managers must take responsibility for adapting them to their own situation, whilst taking into account internal, external, cultural and political factors. New Public Management (NPM) . Osborne and Brown (2005, p. 86) identify the particular difficulty of implementing change in the public sector due to the “public service” culture and its “imperviousness” to change.
NPM seeks to adopt a more business-like approach but local governments often remain highly bureaucratic, with limited devolved responsibility. Trends have been identified of “unbundling” large departments to create smaller, semi-autonomous agencies – still monitored by local government, but not subject to the same levels of micro-management and bureaucracy (Osborne and Brown 2005, p. 61) – and revising the role of local authorities and “contracting-out” provision of parts of services, therefore becoming enablers rather than providers Belfiore (2004).
Wilson and Boyle (2004) provide evidence of how partnerships have increased the success of delivery mechanisms for public sector management. Developing partnerships and building relationships will is key to successful management of the strategic plan. The Museum of Edinburgh was established at Huntly House in the 1970s. Neighbouring Acheson House was purchased in 1995, with a view to expand the museum.
Since then, the financial position of the service has put further development in doubt and the number and age of the buildings “puts a significant strain on the staffing and maintenance budgets as well as providing specific challenges regarding access and the provision of modern facilities to meet the expectations of today’s visitors” (Culture and Leisure Committee, 2008, p. 2). A review of the Museums Service gave the first opportunity in thirty years to look at the provision as a whole and identify opportunities to take the service forward into the 21st Century.
In order to do this, fundamental changes would be required. Other visitor attractions have been established nearby, such as Our Dynamic Earth, Mary King’s Close and Museum of Scotland (all five star VisitScotland rated), with which the Museum is unable to compete. In order to remain viable within this competitive environment, significant action will be required to upgrade and improve the current offer. However, “Structure, systems, practices, and culture have often been more of a drag on change than a facilitator” (Kotter 1996, p.161).
Benchmarking was undertaken to assess recent performance: “an integral part of the diagnostic phase of performance improvement and change” (Carnall 1999, p. 147). Audience research and evaluation findings in 2003 and 2006 were largely unchanged (Culture and Leisure Committee, 2008, Appendix 2). Key facts included: Figure 1: Key Findings by The Audience Business (2003 and 2006) 73% of respondents came from outside Edinburgh 74% were first-time visitors 30% asked for Sunday opening (biggest demand)
Few visitors with children Poor visitor facilities (i. e. disability access, toilets, information) 10% of visitors to Museum of Edinburgh are non-white Strengths: quality of exhibits customer service Weaknesses: opening days lack of information Extracted from Culture and Leisure Committee, 2008, Appendix 2 4. 4 Data was also obtained from the Group for Large Local Authority Museums, which averaged figures from 1998-2003 (see Culture and Leisure Committee, 2008, Appendix 3).
Although less current, they provide a UK-wide context (see Appendix 1), confirming Edinburgh Museums score well on visits and income per head of population whilst costing the least to provide. The service scores poorly on levels of funding and investment. Edinburgh Museums have not taken advantage of the funding opportunities available, nor have they had the significant capital investments of other museums services.