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Understanding continuous improvement in an English local authority: A dynamic-capability perspective

DOUGLAS, David, Jenkins, Wyn and Kennedy, Jane (2012) Understanding continuous improvement in an English local authority: A dynamic-capability perspective. International Journal of Public Sector Management, 25 (1). pp. 17-33. ISSN 0951-3558

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Abstract or description

Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to develop a model using resource-based-view theories of competitive advantage for application to the private sector as a basis for understanding managers' perceptions of high performance in a local authority. The model is evaluated as a substantive case against an English local authority.

Design/methodology/approach – The study investigated senior managers' perceptions of the capabilities and assets that their organisation required to achieve high performance relative to government performance criteria. Data were collected using a questionnaire that asked managers to indicate their notions of drivers for change. The key resources required for successful responses to these drivers were related to one of the four types of generic capabilities a priori outlined in the model, i.e. regeneration, leverage, transformational and privileged access. Subsequent interviews with the respondents explored further issues in greater depth.

Findings – Managers indicated their beliefs that “capabilities” based on “intangible organisational-assets” are necessary for “sustained high-performance”. This is consistent with the model proposed. Nevertheless, the findings also indicated that some assets, historically based, such as “reputation” and “partnerships”, are also important.

Research limitations/implications – The paper critically demonstrates the usefulness of resource-based-view and dynamic-capability theories when applied in a new context, i.e. English local government.

Practical implications – The paper reveals significant organisational development and senior management leadership issues for English county councils, in this case, in developing and sustaining high performance.

Originality/value – The paper is innovative in reviewing, developing and applying a resource-based-dynamic-capability model to research local government organisational management.

Item Type: Article
Faculty: Previous Faculty of Business, Education and Law > Business
Depositing User: David DOUGLAS
Date Deposited: 23 Jan 2013 17:46
Last Modified: 24 Feb 2023 13:36

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