Participative change toward digitalized, customer-oriented continuous improvements within a municipality

Marianne Gravesteijn*, Celeste P.M. Wilderom

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

    6 Citations (Scopus)
    17 Downloads (Pure)


    Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to illustrate how a newly constructed organization behavioral lens for participative action research (PAR) may aid a public-sector organization in successfully digitalizing its internal shared services. In addition, the intervention is aimed at fostering a continuously improving type of learning culture on the workfloor of a new service unit. Design/methodology/approach: In a large Dutch municipality, the installation of a new digitalized process of offering internal services was studied. A PAR method, the so-called Fourth Generation Evaluation, was used on seven internal actor groups. This method enables various intra-organizational actors to reflect collectively on the ongoing change progress. Their explicit views on the change were communicated to all actors and the change agents. Findings: The study describes the attempt of establishing a continuously improving learning culture during an internal digitalization process: substantial participation of the non-managerial employees was enabled. The paper highlights the practical value of the internal digitalization approach used, and concludes with four change process lessons learnt for those wanting to initiate a continuously improving culture on the workfloor. Research limitations/implications: Even though the findings are based on one case, they may be of interest to other public/private organizations aiming to establish a continuously improving culture within workfloor units that interact, on a daily basis, with (internal) customers. Originality/value: The paper offers a theoretical framework and a matching practical approach to the process of creating an internal shared service unit that aims to evolve further into a customer-oriented, continuously improving culture.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)728-748
    Number of pages21
    JournalJournal of organizational change management
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 2018


    • Digitalization
    • e-Government
    • Internal shared service centre
    • Municipality
    • Participative action research
    • 2023 OA procedure


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