How to Overcome Transformation Barriers in IT Departments of State-Owned Enterprises

Christoph Ertl, Alexander Herzfeldt, Helmut Krcmar


This paper develops a framework for analyzing organizational change in information technology (IT) departments of state-owned enterprises (SOEs) and applies that framework to a case study of a German airport that is majority-owned by the German federal government. Specifically, we derive a framework from literature to systematically identify transformation barriers for introducing new enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems and business processes in IT departments of SOEs. This framework is based on the punctuated equilibrium model and considers dynamic process incorporation, explicit stakeholder integration, a detailed representation of the change process, and characteristics of public employees as main factors. We then apply the framework in a case study research approach and show how the framework allows identification of transformation barriers hidden to management but involved in the organizational change process (e.g., required change of organizational structures, required change of service-level-agreements). The framework can be a valuable tool for both researchers and practitioners to actively shape the effects of organizational transformation in SOEs and to identify factors that influence the change process.

Full Text:



Abernethy, M., & Brownell, P. (1999). The role of budgets in organizations facing strategic change: an exploratory study. Accounting Organizations and Society, 24(3), 189-204.

Ackoff, R. L. (2006). Idealized Design: How to Dissolve Tomorrow’s Crisis…Today. Philadelphia, PA: Wharton School Publishing.

Ahrens, T., & Chapman, C. (2007). Management accounting as practice. Accounting Organizations and Society, 32(1), 1-27.

Al-Haddad, S., & Kotnour, T. (2015). Integrating the organizational change literature: a model for successful change. Journal of Organizational Change Management, 28(2), 234-262.

Applebaum, S. H., St-Pierre, N., & Glavas, W. (1998). Strategic organizational change: the role of leadership, learning, motivation and productivity. Management Decision, 36(5), 289-301.

Baines, A., & Langfield, S. K. (2003). Antecedents to management accounting change: a structural equation approach. Accounting Organizations and Society, 28(7-8), 675-698.

Balogun, J., & Hope, H. V. (2004). Exploring Strategic Change. London, UK: Prentice Hall.

Beer, M., & Nohria, N. (2000). Cracking the code of change. Harvard Business Review, 78(3), 133-141.

Benbasat, I., Goldstein, D. K., & Mead, M. (1987). The Case Research Strategy in Studies of Information Systems. MIS Quarterly, 11(3), 369-386.

Björck, F. (2004). Institutional Theory: A New Perspective for Research into IS/IT Security in Organisations. Proceedings of the 37th Annual Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences HICSS, Hawaii.

Bogt, H. J., & van Helden, G. J. (2000). Accounting change in Dutch government: Exploring the gap between expectations and realizations. Management Accounting Research, 11(2), 675-698.

Boubakria, N., Cosset, J. C., & Saffar, W. (2008). Political connections of newly privatized firms. Journal of Corporate Finance, 14(5), 654-673.

Boyne, G. (2002). Public and Private Management: What is the difference? Journal of Management Studies, 39(1), 97-122.

Bozeman, B. (2013). What Organization Theorists and Public Policy Researchers Can Learn from One Another: Publicness Theory as a Case-in-Point. Organization Studies, 34(2), 169-188.

Burnes, B. (2004). Managing Change: A Strategic Approach to Organizational Dynamics. Harlow: Prentice Hall.

Burns, J., & Scapens, R. W. (2000). Conceptualizing management accounting change: an institutional framework. Management Accounting Research, 11(1), 3-25.

Chenhall, R., & Euske, K. (2007). The role of management control systems in planned organizational change: An analysis of two organizations. Accounting Organizations and Society, 32(7-8), 601-637.

Cooper, H. M. (1989). Organizing knowledge synthesis: A taxonomy of literature reviews. Knowledge in Society, 1, 104-126.

Cordella, A., & Bonina, C. (2012). A public value perspective for ICT enabled public sector reforms: A theoretical reflection. Government Information Quarterly, 29(4), 512-520.

Cordella, A., & Tempini, N. (2015). E-government and organizational change: Reappraising the role of ICT and bureaucracy in public service delivery. Government Information Quarterly, 32(3), 279-286.

Cordella, A., & Willcocks, L. (2012). Government policy, public value and IT outsourcing: The strategic case of ASPIRE. The Journal of Strategic Information Systems, 21(4), 295-307.

Cunningham, J. B., & Kempling, J. (2009). Implementing change in public sector organizations. Management Decision, 47(2), 330-334.

Da Cruz, N. F., & Marques, R. C. (2012). Mixed Companies and Local Governance: No Man Can Serve Two Masters. Public Administration, 90(3), 737-758.

Damanpour, F., Magelssen, C., & Chiu, H. H. (2013). Outsourcing and Insourcing Organizational Services: Operational Capabilities & Strategy Recurrence. Academy of Management Proceedings, 2013(1), 13137.

Dambrin, C., Lambert, C., & Sponem, S. (2007). Control and change - Analysing the process of institutionalization. Management Accounting Research, 18(2), 172-208.

De Lancer, J. P., & Holzer, M. (2001). Promoting the Utilization of Performance Measures in Public Organizations: An Empirical Study of Factors Affecting Adoption and Implementation. Public Administration Review, 61(6), 693-708.

Dillard, J., Rigsby, J., & Goodman, C. (2004). The making and remaking of organization context: Duality and the institutionalization process. Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, 17(4), 506-542.

Dubé, L., & Paré, G. (2003). Rigor in Information Systems Positivist Case Research - Current Practices, Trends, and Recommendations. MIS Quarterly, 27(4), 597-635.

Englund, H., Gerdin, J., & Burns, J. (2011). 25 Years of Giddens in accounting research: Achievements, limitations and the future. Accounting Organizations and Society, 36(8), 494-513.

Ertl, C., Greger, V., Wolf, P., & Krcmar, H. (2014). Organizational Forms and Their Effect on Performance Management of IT. Proceedings of the 14th European Conference on eGovernment ECEG, Brasov, 85-92.

Gersick, C. (1991). Revolutionary Change Theories: A multiple exploration of the punctuated equilibrium model. Academy of Management Review, 16(1), 10-36.

Gong, Y., & Janssen, M. (2012). From policy implementation to business process management: Principles for creating flexibility and agility. Government Information Quarterly, 29(s1), 61-71.

Haahr, L. (2014). Wrestling with Contradictions in Government Social Media Practices. International Journal of Electronic Government Research, 10(1), 35-45.

Hopwood, A. (1987). The archeology of accounting systems. Accounting Organizations and Society, 12(3), 207-234.

Jacobs, G., van Witteloostuijn, A. & Christe, Z. J. (2013). A theoretical framework of organizational change. Journal of Organizational Change Management, 26(5), 772-792.

Jansson, N. (2013). Organizational change as practice: a critical analysis. Journal of Organizational Change Management, 26(6), 1003-1019.

Jayashree, P., & Hussain, S. J. (2011). Aligning change deployment: a Balanced Scorecard approach. Measuring Business Excellence, 15(3), 63-85.

Joha, A., & Janssen, M. (2010). Public-private partnerships, outsourcing or shared service centers?: Motives and intents for selecting sourcing configurations. Transforming Government: People, Process and Policy, 4(3), 232-248.

Jones, C. (2005). Firm transformation: advancing a Darwinian perspective. Management Decision, 43(1), 13–25.

Kets, de V. M., & Balazs, K. (1998). Beyond the Quick Fix: The Psychodynamics of Organizational Transformation and Change. European Management Journal, 16(5), 611–622.

Kromidha, E. (2012). Strategic e-government development and the role of benchmarking. Government Information Quarterly, 29(4), 573-581.

Laughlin, R. (1987). Accounting systems in organisational contexts: A case for critical theory. Accounting Organizations and Society, 12(5), 497-502.

Levine, C., Backoff, R., Cahoon, A., & Siffin, W. (1975). Organizational design: A post-Minnowbrook perspective for the ‘new’ public administration. Public Administration Review, 35, 425–435.

Lounsbury, M. (2008). Institutional rationality and practice variation: New directions in the institutional analysis of practice. Accounting Organizations and Society, 33(4-5), 349-361.

Maguire, S., Hardy, C., & Lawrence, T. B. (2004). Institutional entrepreneurship in emerging fields: HIV/AIDS treatment advocacy in Canada. Academy of Management Journal, 47(5), 657–679.

Mayring, P. (2008). Qualitative Inhaltsanalyse. Weinheim, Germany: Beltz Verlag.

Meier, R., Ben, E. R., & Schuppan, T. (2013). ICT-enabled public sector organizational transformation: Factors constituting resistance to change. Information Polity, 18(4), 315-329.

Mergel, I. (2013). A framework for interpreting social media interactions in the public sector. Government Information Quarterly, 30(4), 327-334.

Moran, J. W., & Brightman, B. K. (2001). Leading organizational change. The Career Development International, 6(2), 111-118.

Myers, M. D., & Newman, M. (2007). The qualitative interview in IS research: Examining the craft. Information and Organization, 17(1), 2-29.

Nutt, P. (2006). Comparing Public and Private Sector Decision-Making Practices. Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory, 16(1), 289-318.

Nutt, P., & Backoff, R. (1993). Organizational publicness and its implications for strategic management. Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory, 3(2), 209-231.

O'Grady, W., Rouse, P., & Gunn, C. (2010). Synthesizing management control frameworks. Measuring Business Excellence, 14(1), 96-108.

Orlikowski, W. (1992). The Duality of Technology: Rethinking the concept of technology in organizations. Organization Science, 3(3), 398-427.

Paré, G. (2004). Investigating Information Systems with Positivist Case Study Research. Communications of the Association for Information Systems, 13(1), 233-264.

Patton, M. Q. (2002). Qualitative Research and Evaluation Methods. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

Puron, C. G., Gil, G. R., & Luna, R. L. (2012). IT-Enabled Policy Analysis: New Technologies, Sophisticated Analysis and Open Data for Better Government Decisions. Proceedings of the 13th Annual International Conference on Digital Government Research, College Park, 97-106.

Roberts, H. (1994). Accountability and responsibility: the influence of organization design on management accounting. European Accounting Review, 3(2), 384-388.

Sabherwal, R., Hirschheim, R., Goles, T. (2001). The Dynamics of Alignment: Insights from a Punctuated Equilibrium Model. Organization Science, 12(2), 179-197.

Sharma, C. (2012). Determinants of PPP in infrastructure in developing economies. Transforming Government: People, Process and Policy, 6(2), 149-166.

Sharma, U., Lawrence, S., & Lowe, A. (2010). Institutional contradiction and management control innovation: A field study of total quality management practices in a privatized telecommunication company. Management Accounting Research, 21(4), 251-264.

Suddaby, R., Hardy, C., & Huy, Q. N. (2011). Where are the new theories of organization? Academy of Management Review, 36(2), 236–246.

Tarschys, D. (2002). Time Horizons in Budgeting. OECD Journal on Budgeting, 2, 77-103.

Tushman, M. L., & O’Reilly, C. A. (1996). Ambidextrous Organizations: Managing Evolutionary and Revolutionary Change. California Management Review, 38(4), 8-30.

Van de Ven, A. H., & Poole, M. S. (1995). Explaining development and change in organizations. Academy of Management Review, 20(3), 510-540.

Vander, E. S., & De Rynck, F. (2014). Alignment processes in public organizations: An interpretive approach. Information Polity, 19(3), 195-206.

Warner, M. E., & Hefetz, A. (2012). Insourcing and Outsourcing: The Dynamics of Privatization Among US Municipalities 2002–2007. Journal of the American Planning Association, 78(3), 313-327.

Webster, J., & Watson, R. T. (2002). Analyzing the past to prepare for the future: Writing a literature review. MIS Quarterly, 26(2), 13-23.

Yin, R. K. (2008). Applications of Case Study Research. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.


Copyright (c) 2018 Christoph Ertl, Alexander Herzfeldt, Helmut Krcmar

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

Journal of Public Administration and Governance  ISSN 2161-7104


Copyright © Macrothink Institute

To make sure that you can receive messages from us, please add the '' domain to your e-mail 'safe list'. If you do not receive e-mail in your 'inbox', check your 'bulk mail' or 'junk mail' folders.