• Didde Nielsen Elbæk
4. term, Learning and Innovative Change, Master (Master Programme)
These years, the Danish Public Sector is going through an intense change in trying to keep up with the democratic development, increased competition by the private market combined with an ongoing public demand on high quality. One of the popular medias to support this task of resilience and development is external change consultants who are commonly used when developing public employers through lectures, reflective workshops and courses.

While public leaders often are the initiators in these internal-external cooperation, many employees express a demotivation whenever external consultants are mentioned. When education and development through external consultants are key influents on the maintenance of the public sector, it is highly relevant to understand and learn how positive employee sense making on external consultants can be supported by leaders and employees involved in any coorporation with external consultants.

This research project addresses this question through a qualitative case study: Eight employees, the department manager, and the top leader in a department of the Danish public sector are interviewed about their experiences and opinions about the department’s use of external consultants.

The research shows that practice-orientation is the primary criteria for supporting what employees define as important when making positive sense of external consulting sessions. The most important thing is that this practice has to reflect employee reality – not management interpretation. If this isn´t supported through choice of subject, communication, consultant control and framework, employees will want to integrate the practice-orientated quality by influencing the design process themselves.

If management wish to continue the bureaucratic management style they need to establish a communicative connection between management action and employee framework. This, though, needs to be the responsibility of someone from the employee group, since management doesn’t have the necessary insight in real time employee practice.

To support the processes of sense making, a process model and defined roles negotiated between management and employees might be concrete tools to support positive sensemaking for both management and employees. These tools, though, need to be developed by each specific department who wishes to optimize their support on a positive sense making around the use of external consultants.
LanguageDanish
Publication date31 May 2018
Number of pages74
ID: 280155034