Implementation of organisational change: Design of an 8-step organizational change process for local authorities

Ann-Marie Nienaber, sebastian spundflasch, Andre Soares, Andree Woodcock

Research output: Contribution to conferencePosterpeer-review


Globally the transport sector is undergoing a major transformation as the emphasis is shifting towards mobility as a service, intermodality and sustainable transport and the roles which transport plays in the health, economy and quality of life of cities and their citizens. This requires local authorities to work in new ways, with new partners, regulations, new modes of transport and innovative information and communication technologies. They need to create far reaching plans which will bring economic and environmental benefits to all sectors of society, at the same time increasing accessibility and inclusivity for all. In order to do this they must evolve as an organisation to become more resilient, flexible and adaptive so that they can apply their first-hand knowledge of their city to the development of transformational mobility plans which will reshape their city. Organisational changes need to accompany information provision and training.
Learning organizations are characterized by individuals who are willing to change their behaviours, attitudes. They are creative and willing to break new ground. However most local authorities face difficulties when it comes to change, as it is associated with risks and uncertainty. People typically prefer to stick to old ways of working and may fear higher workloads especially if change is imposed from the top, by those not familiar with and sensitive to their organisation. Quite simply developing the best mobility plans for a city requires organisational change.
Data was gathered during intensive cooperation with the LAs of nine European cities and their wider stakeholders in the H2020 CIVITAS SUITS project. Supporting Urban Integrated Transport Systems (SUITS) is a four-year research and development project, aiming to increasing the capacity of small to medium cities to plan and implement sustainable mobility measures. In the course of the project, the nine cities of Kalamaria (Greece), Valencia (Spain), Alba Iulia (Romania), Rome and Turin (Italy) and West Midlands (UK), Palanga (Romania), Stuttgart and Dachau (Germany) have embarked on a change journey to foster sustainable mobility.
Working with local authorities, SUITS has developed an 8-step organizational change process for local authorities based on Kotter (1995).

In summary this is
1. Form of a powerful coalition within the LA
2. Jointly develop a change vision
3. Identify the correct change agent as a driver responsible for making change happen
4. Communicate the vision widely and involve colleagues in defining concrete goals and activities to achieve the vision.
5. Let the change happen in small increments
and keep up the momentum over the long term.
6. Celebrate quicks wins and keep reinforcing the vision.
7. Learn from the process and the results - adapt goals and activities if necessary.
8. Anchor the changes and the change process in corporate culture, e.g. written guidelines, new forms of communication or planning inside the local authority.

Organisational change becomes hard if it is imposed top-down, does not have buy in from those who have to live with and implement the changes. SUITS has demonstrated how organisational change can be implemented and lead to more effective, collaborative working and mobility planning.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusSubmitted - 6 Jul 2020
EventDIS 2020 workshop ‘Making Civic Initiatives Last’. - virtual
Duration: 6 Jul 20207 Jul 2020


ConferenceDIS 2020 workshop ‘Making Civic Initiatives Last’.
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