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56,1 Implementing a new performance
management system within a
project-based organization
A case study
Received June 2005 Mei-I Cheng
Revised February 2006 De Montfort University, Leicester, UK
Accepted March 2006
Andrew Dainty
Loughborough University, Loughborough, UK, and
David Moore
The Robert Gordon University, Scott Sutherland School, Aberdeen, UK
Purpose – The paper seeks to show that implementing change initiatives in organizations is
extremely problematic, particularly in relation to human resource management (HRM) initiatives. The
challenges inherent in implementing new HRM systems and procedures is arguably more acute in
project-based organizations where temporary teams and geographically dispersed employees render
the coherent implementation of new systems and procedures problematic. This paper presents the
findings of case study research in which the implementation of a new performance management
system for improving individual project manager performance is evaluated. A framework is developed
for guiding the implementation of similar change initiatives in other project-based organizations.
Design/methodology/approach – A longitudinal case study methodology was adopted for the
study. This enabled the ways in which resistance to change was manifested, and to be explored, and the
actions necessary to circumvent barriers to its use discerned. The final framework is derived from a
review of change strategies in other industries and sectors as well as from the case study findings.
Findings – The paper finds that barriers to implementing new performance solutions stemmed from
a lack of senior management commitment and support, ingrained working practices and an absence of
appropriate training interventions. These are relatively straightforward to overcome as part of a
robust implementation framework.
Research limitations/implications – The assertions made within the paper are based on a single
case study. Further work is required to validate the findings within other organizations.
Practical implications – The posited approach in this paper provides a practical implementation
methodology, which may be transferable to other project-led organizations. The framework provides a
point of departure for organisations looking for practicable ways of mitigating organizational
resistance to performance initiatives, particularly project-oriented businesses, which face additional
challenges in terms of delivering coherent change programmes.
Originality/value – In the paper the practical implementation methodology proposed provides a point
of departure for companies considering strategies for successfully implementing performance
management tools in the future.
Keywords Performance management, Organizational change, United Kingdom
International Journal of Productivity Paper type Research paper
and Performance Management
Vol. 56 No. 1, 2007
pp. 60-75 The project on which this research was based was funded by a grant from the EPSRC. The
q Emerald Group Publishing Limited
authors wish to acknowledge the assistance of the construction company who took part in the
DOI 10.1108/17410400710717082 development of the research on which this paper is based.
Introduction Performance
Performance management, in a human resource management (HRM) sense, is the management
process of delivering sustained success to organizations by improving capabilities of
individuals and teams (Armstrong and Baron, 1998). It supports the philosophical system
principle that people and not capital provide organizations with a competitive
advantage (Reynolds and Ablett, 1998). However, performance management presents
severe challenges in terms of practical implementation (Bourne et al., 2000). Many 61
managers remain sceptical of researchers’, advice in this area, as previous studies have
largely failed to overcome many of the organizational constraints on its successful
implementation (Redman, 2001). Overcoming barriers to change is especially
important given their close relationship to the fulfilment of the psychological
contract and related HRM systems (reward, development, etc.). The psychological
contract construct recognises the existence of a “soft” set of expectations held by the
employee, which have to be organized and managed (Sparrow, 1998). Within the
relationship defined by the psychological contract, the employer and the employee
inform, negotiate, monitor and then re-negotiate (or exit) the employment relationship.
Thus, if the employee feels that a performance management approach breaches or
violates their psychological contract expectations this can lead to an irrevocable
breakdown in the employment relationship (Robinson and Rousseau, 1994). Careful
implementation of performance tools is therefore crucial to their success as
contributors to organizational development.
This paper reports on case study research analysing the introduction and first year
of operation of a new performance management system within a large project-based
organization. The aim was to evaluate the success of the implementation process and
based on this analysis, to identify learning points, which could inform the
implementation of other change initiatives within project-based organizations in the
future. The paper begins with a review of the role of performance management in
facilitating organizational change and development. Following this, the
implementation of a performance management system is examined via a case study
of a large organization seeking to develop a new was of managing the development and
contribution of its employees. A large construction company provided an experimental
arena for exploring the process of implementing performance management systems for
this study. The barriers to the implementation of the system emerging over the course
of the study are examined and, following a review of how such barriers have been
overcome in other sectors, a new framework for implementing performance solutions is
developed. The framework provides a point of departure for organisations looking for
practicable ways of avoiding organizational resistance to performance initiatives,
particularly project-oriented businesses, which face constraints, rooted in short term
objectives and temporary involvement structures (Turner, 1998). This work represents
the first phase of a research project aimed at developing innovative methodologies for
enabling organizational change and transformation within the construction sector.

Performance management to support organizational change

The ultimate competitive asset of any organization is its people (Band et al., 1994), thus
organizations should develop employee competencies in a manner aligned with the
organization’s business goals. This can be achieved through performance management
systems (Moullin, 2003), which act as both behavioural change tool and enabler of
IJPPM improved organizational performance through being instrumental in driving change.
56,1 This can then be institutionalized through organizational policies, systems and
structures. Performance management therefore aims to emphasize and encourage
desired and valued behaviours (Risher, 2003), thus is a key tool of communication and
motivation within organizations seeking a competitive edge through strategic change
and control. Performance management then becomes a system for translating
62 organizational intention and ambition into action and results delivering a strategic
goal, such as behavioural change (Band et al., 1994). The system also brings focus to
organisational change and development, particularly regarding competencies. When
competency profiles support company goals, they become instrumental in developing
the human resources necessary to deliver business goals (Parker-Gore, 1996). As a
result, performance management system is an important tool for communicating
priorities and for providing feedback to stimulate employees to meet the new

Implementing organizational change initiatives: the role of performance

management systems
Changing individual employee behaviour lies at the heart of organizational change
programmes (see, Porras and Robertson, 1992). However, many interventions result in
negligible or even negative change within organizations (Matheny, 1998). This is
because they ignore or violate established change psychology principles (Winum et al.,
1997). Senior management can assume that because they are ready to pro-actively
embrace change, their employees will be equally pro-active. However, imposing action
on employees who are not prepared results in conflict (Deloitte and Touche, 1996).
Typically, only 20 percent of employees in organizations are prepared to take positive
action in response to change initiatives (Laforge et al., 1999). Miller (2002) reported that
more than 70 percent of new strategic initiatives fail for this reason. Thus, to be
successful in shaping behaviour, performance management systems must achieve
acceptance by those being “managed”.
Despite the challenges inherent in implementing change programmes, modern
organizations need to respond more effectively to changing external and internal
environments, and organizational learning has become an important strategic focus.
By anticipating and responding to changes in the environment through proactive
learning interventions, some organizations are evolving into learning organizations
(see Tjepkema and Wognum, 1996). Organizational learning is defined as where
learning changes the behaviour of individuals or groups within the organization
(Reynolds and Ablett, 1998) and thus is a transformational (rather than transactional)
activity yielding tangible benefits. Nonetheless, the question of how to best transform
behaviours through organizational learning and development remains. Attempts at
solutions have provided frameworks/models of strategic initiatives, which emphasise
the outcomes, but pay little attention to the process of implementation. In reality, many
change initiatives fail because either organizational cultures are not ready to change at
that time, or because they do not anticipate the impact of change on human systems.
Initiatives in the latter category typically result in resistance and ultimately failure of
the change initiative (Prochaska, 2000).
As mentioned earlier, one method that organizations can use to affect employee
competencies in a manner aligned with the organization’s change goals is to develop
robust performance management systems (Moullin, 2003; Risher, 2003; Parker-Gore, Performance
1996). An effective performance management system can facilitate change and management
innovation by both demonstrating their relationship with the overall strategy, and by
supporting the monitoring of progress towards an ultimate goal (Simpson and Hill, system
2004). It is therefore a crucially important tool for communicating priorities and for
providing feedback on employees’ contributions to achieving organizational goals.
However, new performance management systems will also be viewed as a change 63
process in their own right by many employees, and so can face considerable resistance
from employees subjected to them. The implementation of such systems therefore
represents a key challenge for organizations seeking to develop their work practices in
a robust and aligned manner.

Implementing change and improving performance in the construction

The construction industry represents an interesting sector within which to explore
organizational initiatives because, as one of the most established project-based sectors,
it is subject to frequent change (Keegan and Turner, 2003). The industry is currently
being challenged to improve its performance by benchmarking its performance against
other sectors and developing strategic approaches to align organizational and supply
chain processes (Egan, 1998). Given the imperative to embrace change within the
sector, breaking down barriers to new and innovative work practices is crucial to
meeting ambitious improvement targets (Strategic Forum for Construction, 2002).
Within construction, fragmentation and institutionally grounded vested interests
have stymied performance improvement and limited the impact of HRM mechanisms
used successfully in other sectors (Loosemore et al., 2003). Research on team
communication has illustrated the predominance of adversarial workplace attitudes in
(supposedly) integrated project team environments (Moore and Dainty, 2001; Gorse
and Emmitt, 2003). New process and procurement improvements have had little more
than a cosmetic effect, as traditional professional boundaries (elements of the
transactional environment) remain. Similarly, ingrained attitudes and resistance to
new ways of working can become apparent, particularly if these question, or counter,
traditional approaches, as with behaviours-based performance approaches.
The extant literature reveals little about employees’ participation rates in
organizational change initiatives or how resistance can be overcome. No work has
successfully investigated the willingness of construction organizations to embrace the
change necessary for inducing radical performance improvement. The ability of key
players to embrace the process of change and transformation is seemingly taken for
granted. However, there are significant problems with this assumption, as provoking
the root and branch level of transformation desired cannot be left to happenstance.
Rather, key players within organizations will need to drive forward change in an
incremental manner for it to succeed (D’Herbemont and Cesar, 1998). Unfortunately,
however, the relationship between industry transformation and motivation of those
working within the industry still requires greater understanding. This research seeks
to establish the steps necessary to implement a performance management system
encouraging change and transformation within a large construction company.
IJPPM Research design and methodology
56,1 In-depth insights into the nature of resistance to the implementation of a new
performance approach require detailed, qualitative analyses within a company
undergoing such a transition. Accordingly, a case study approach was adopted to
evaluate the impact of the implementation of a new performance management tool. The
research focused on the implementation of a new competency-based performance
64 management system designed to help the organization improve its performance and
align employee’s efforts with its espoused visions and values. The case study firm is
one of the largest construction businesses in the UK, and their new competency-based
performance management system differs radically from their previous tools, which
measured and rewarded performance against outturn project performance criteria. The
new competency-based system was to evaluate the behavioural input of managers to
the success of both projects and the organizational goals as a whole. It was being
rolled-out over a six-month period with the aim of fully embedding it within the
organization by the end of its first year of operation.
The research undertaken within the case study firm was undertaken in two phases.
First, the implementation of the system was evaluated in order that areas of resistance
to change could be established. A number of interconnected datasets were collected,
including interviews with managers and employee representatives, an examination of
organizational feedback documentation (employee satisfaction questionnaires, etc.)
and direct observation of the appraisal and feedback process. These data were
collected in a longitudinal manner, with multiple interviews being conducted at
three-monthly intervals to discern emerging implementation issues. Additionally, three
workshops were held with managers with responsibility for recruitment and training
and development. These managers had overall responsibility for the system rollout. All
of the data collected were transcribed and analysed using the NVivo qualitative data
analysis software. This enabled the codification of the data into themes, which were
subsequently reconnected in relation to the nature of the informant from which they
had been derived. This enabled the issues involved with the rollout of the system to be
evaluated from the perspective of both the employees and senior managers
implementing the change. The outcomes of this phase were carried forward into a
second phase of the work, where approaches were developed and implemented for
overcoming barriers previously identified.

Results and discussion

The case company experienced considerable difficulties achieving viable levels of
engagement with the implementation process, and acceptance of the new system. The
company planned and orchestrated the system’s technical and structural aspects
effectively, but overlooked the personal reorientation associated with change. Notably,
there was a lack of understanding and acceptance of managing performance around
behavioural dimensions of job performance; a radical departure from the traditional
focus on competency standards linked to project output-based criteria. The barriers to
implementation centred on a lack of senior management endorsement, overt resistance
to change amongst employees, and to the inadequate training support provided
through the implementation process. These issues are discussed below in relation to
similar studies drawn from the extant literature. Illustrative sample quotations are
used to convey the significance of identified attitudinal barriers from both the
perspective of the managers with responsibility for the implementation of the Performance
performance management system and the employees who were resisting it. management
Barriers to implementation success
Lack of senior management commitment 65
The implementation process within the company lacked active senior management
support, participation and leadership. Some senior managers attempted to undermine
the acceptance of the new system; others showed ambivalence towards it:
We had the road shows that went out, did a presentation, did a questionnaire and in two
hours, we expect change? Nothing is going to change unless the leadership changes. It is the
leaders walking the talk that counts . . . everything that they do should reflect the changes
that we are trying to make, but we haven’t got them doing that (Human Resource manager).
Studies show the detrimental impact a lack of management commitment can have on
implementation of change initiatives (Hansson et al., 2003; Trader-Leigh, 2002).
Without continued senior management commitment, interest in new systems and
processes soon wanes. Within the case company, management commitment had begun
to decline throughout the implementation process:
There is a perception in the operational side of the business that they would like more control
over their own destiny so there is a battle between the strategic direction of the company and
the support that the central functions give the operations. New systems such as this where
data is held and acted upon centrally seems to be threatening to some line managers with
responsibility for implementing it (Human Resource manager).
The phenomenon of declining commitment from senior management is attributable to
a range of factors including lack of understanding of the objectives and methodologies
of the new system (see Hipkin and Lockett, 1995; Hansson et al., 2003), or a perceived
threat to supervisors’ and managers’ roles induced by the system (Barodoel and Sohal,
1999). In common with other studies, senior management were found to have little
patience for waiting for the new performance management system’s benefits to accrue
(see Laszlo, 1999). If tangible benefits were not immediately forthcoming, they quickly
reverted to tried and tested approaches. This attitude belies the cyclical
performance-based nature of performance management, that its benefits are derived
as developmental actions are taken in response to human resource deficiencies and
needs that emerge over time:
Some line managers felt there was too much happening and were not willing to adapt the new
system as daily job commitment is their first priority. If they had seen an immediate
improvement in performance then perhaps they would have bought into it more readily
(Junior manager).
Together, the lack of commitment and unwillingness to allow the benefits of the new
system to accrue incrementally had given an impression to employees that it would
form a short-term management fad likely to be replaced by a new system in the future.
This lack of senior management endorsement underpinned other organizational
resistance factors discussed below.
IJPPM Employee resistance to change
56,1 Employee commitment to change programmes is crucial given that they actually execute
implementation activities (Hansson et al., 2003). Low employee commitment could
therefore obstruct acceptance of an implementation process (Saad and Siha, 2000). A
range of intangible and therefore difficult to measure factors such as understanding,
ownership and involvement, are also important in obtaining commitment (Ghobadian and
66 Gallear, 2001; Hardwick and Winsor, 2002). Within the case organization, difficulties were
experienced in reconciling the rhetorical reasons behind the need for the new performance
management system with its practical realities:
I had no clear idea of what I was going to do, or the criteria against which I was to be assessed
. . . it was not translated nor linked into how people do their jobs . . . we couldn’t understand
how this was supposed to improve or manage our performance (Junior manager).
It became evident that no systematic plans had been developed for addressing
resistance to the implementation of the system based on: fear of losing jobs (Hardwick
and Winsor, 2002); negative experiences of previous problematic change projects
(ibid.); changes to their internal status (McAdam and McGeough, 2000), or because of
the stressful work conditions that change induces (Hansson et al., 2003). The actions of
most “resistors” were not malevolent, but grounded in their reliance on ingrained
operational practices:
I think that 20 percent of people engage with the business and with what the business wants
to do, 60 percent are along for the ride and 20 percent are actively against it. The sad thing is
that the other people aren’t against the business, they aren’t neutral, they are very supportive
of the business, but for whatever reasons they choose not to participate in the new system
(Line manager).
The data revealed that conservatism stymied attempts to embed the new system. The
language and terminology associated with the new performance management system
also acted to alienate those from technical backgrounds who saw little relevance to
their day-to-day activities:
To be fair to engineers, we can’t work on something that is best fit or may or may not be right
depending on the circumstances, we work in a world of certainties where you make
calculations about the structural integrity of a building and it stands up if it is built properly.
We . . . . work in a different sort of environment where people have to be influenced and
persuaded. These are different mindsets, which is why I think the new PM system does not
align well with our outlook (Line manager).

Inadequate training and support

Surprisingly, given the level of resources provided for the rollout of the new
performance management system, employees at every level of the organization
appeared to lack the necessary knowledge and skills required for their particular
contribution to the system’s implementation:
We realise that we are coming from a pretty low level of understanding about people
management and are having to go through quite a big process of education, supplementing
what we have already done in Performance Management with new knowledge about this
approach . . . we need a lot more input if we are to really grasp these issues though (Line
The approaches being used to inform employees of their responsibilities under the new Performance
system had a limited impact, as they did not address the concurrent need for attitudinal management
change. Most of the managers appreciating the intentions behind and benefits of the
new approach felt that they would find it hard to champion its use when many of their system
colleagues felt sceptical and inadequately supported. This emphasises the importance
of encouraging widespread buy-in for such initiatives if they are to be successful.
Towards a new implementation framework for performance management:
key factors underlying success
Employee commitment within the management of change process is crucial, both
regarding consolidating present change, and the likely future success of any ongoing
change programmes (Bennet and Durkin, 2000). The potential of benefiting from
continuous improvement (Chin and Pun, 2002) emphasises the importance of gaining
employee commitment and cooperation (Wilkinson et al., 1994). The case study
revealed that in performance management it is the processes involved in change that
are crucial rather than the quality of the system per se. Focusing on expected outcomes
to the detriment of the process and inputs necessary for success appears to have
increase the resistance to the system in this case and led ultimately to its failure.
The case study findings suggest that the most important factor in a successful
strategic initiative is the attitude of those affected. The case company’s implementation
failed largely due to the employees and management of the organization not having
fully understood why the initiative had been created and what benefits both they and
the organization were meant to derive from it. Previous research has shown that
positive involvement of top management acts as support to a new system
(Chattopadhyay, 2001). This is largely because senior managers must manage the
necessary culture change required (Jackson, 2001). However, in the case of the case
study organization such managers failed to support the change by advocating and
promoting the system and its benefits. Without a consistent message and senior level
champions for the initiative it failed to achieve the buy-in of other managers within the
organisation. Indeed, the case study findings are consistent with Wang and Ahmed
(2001) suggestion that strong internal motivation and emotional involvement are
necessary if implementation is to be successful. Superiors and subordinates must have
high levels of trust and confidence in each other, and cooperation and teamwork must
exist at all levels (Keating and Harrington, 2002). Trust in the manager, based on past
behaviour, is one important factor in persuading employees to accept the new vision
(Carroll, 2000; Godfrey et al., 1997). Effective implementation of any strategy is more
likely to occur if the organizational members are committed to a common vision
(Keating and Harrington, 2002).
The case study showed that the knowledge of executives and managers in strategy
implementation is crucial as many executives and managers are engaged in developing
and implementing strategic decisions or projects having wider implications on other
functional areas. Despite sufficient knowledge and experience in their own functional
areas, they still need to be further trained to manage implementation. It is essential that
executives and managers be trained in how to effectively implement their strategies
into practice within complex and dynamic environments (Okumus, 2003). Similarly,
employees at every organizational level should possess (or be motivated to train
towards them) the knowledge and skills required for their particular contribution to
IJPPM implementation of the new system (Yusof and Aspinwall, 2002). Commitment and
56,1 motivation are crucial to the success of a new initiative and the organization must
introduce hard procedures to support them (Jackson, 2001). Resource limitations and an
emphasis on short-term goals are among the difficulties encountered in the
management of change initiatives (Wilkinson et al., 1994). Insecure employees are
more likely to resist any changes being introduced than those contributing to the new
68 initiative (Borrill and Parker, 2000). This culture change is a necessary prerequisite for
strategic initiative implementation success because values such as respect,
cooperation, trust, and openness are crucial to the effective implementation of
initiatives (Jabnoun, 2001).
Analysis of the case study data revealed discrepancies between what senior
managers within the case company were saying about the new system, and what
they were actually doing in practice. Senge (1990) refers to this as the distinction
“between espoused theories (what we say) and theories-in-use (the implied theory in
what we do)” (p. 186). Less successful transition companies are characterised by
chief executives articulating a clear commitment to new strategies within their
organizations but not behaving in a corresponding manner. Hill et al. (2001)
suggested that research is needed to differentiate between executives’
understanding, motivation and intent, which can provide some insight into the
discrepancy, alluded to above. Current understanding of organizational learning
suggests that a time scale of up to six years is required for change to be properly
embedded (Reynolds and Ablett, 1998). Hence, effective implementation has to be
regarded as an on-going and continual learning process, particularly in industries
such as construction, which are characterised by ingrained business practices and a
resistance to radical change programmes.
The analysis of the study data suggests that the company was attempting to
implement new performance management system was not meeting its objectives,
primarily because of a lack of employee commitment and belief in its benefits. It is
therefore clearly important to manage resistance to change and to address the tensions
inherent in multi-level, multi-actor systems. Any proposed implementation
methodology must overcome resistance at various levels including the “super
political” (executive), “organizational” (departmental/divisional) and the
“implementation” (front-line/project) levels. Employees and senior management
possess different frames of reality and face different organizational forces driving
their behaviours and interactions. Mapping these dynamics is important, as creating a
new context within which interaction takes place will be fundamental to its success as
a change initiative.

The new implementation framework

A thorough review of the implementation of change programmes from the existing
literature provides a basis for a new implementation framework. This comprises an
amalgam of practices drawn from a range of studies presenting prerequisites for the
success of new initiatives responding to the barriers identified within the case study
company. They key components of this strategy are listed in Table I and are discussed
briefly below.
Barriers Facilitators (implementation checklist)
1. Lack of management commitment 1. Support and leadership system
Unclear understanding of what is being Whether employees have the time and resources
done, and of the objectives and for improvement efforts (Cooke, 2000)
methodologies of the new system (Hipkin
and Lockett, 1995; Hansson et al., 2003) 69
Failure to produce results quickly where Must be realistic about the time and change
management has little patience to await demands placed on staff (Reynolds and Ablett,
benefits and is looking for short-term returns 1998; Keating and Harrington, 2002)
on investment (Laszlo, 1999)
Have a key person to stimulate the whole change
process (Keating and Harrington, 2002; Hill et al.,
2001; Jackson, 2001)
2. Lack for employee commitment 2. Strategic planning
Lack of clarity/rationale (Hansson et al., 2003; The new strategy should be consistent with the
Lewis et al., 2004; Dong, 2001) overall strategic direction of the company and
appropriate to the market conditions (Barodoel
and Sohal, 1999; Riis et al., 1997)
No systematic plans for influencing people’s The aims should be clearly identified (Okumus,
thinking (Hodgkinson and Stewart, 1993) 2003)
Employees resist change due to fear of losing The expertise of strategy developers is crucial
jobs, negative experience of previous (Okumus, 2003)
problematic change projects, status affected
or stressful work conditions (Hardwick and
Winsor, 2002; McAdam and McGeough,
2000; Hansson et al., 2003
Conservatism, or upholding existing Active participation from all levels of
practices, stemming from insufficient management and employees (Hansson et al., 2003;
knowledge of the new working methods Okumus, 2003; Aghazadeh, 2002; Yamashina,
(Barodoel and Sohal, 1999) 2000)
Consider the potential impact of ongoing and
future project on the new initiative (Okumus,
2003; Bennet and Durkin, 2000; Reynolds and
Ablett, 1998)
Develop an overall maintenance management
strategy (Hansson et al., 2003)
Consider the potential changes in duties, roles,
decision-making and reporting relationship
(Okumus, 2003)
Whether the organizational structure facilitates
the free flow of communication (Okumus, 2003;
Reynolds and Ablett, 1998; Jackson, 2001)
The impact of organizational culture on
communication, coordination and cooperation
(Keating and Harrington, 2002; Page and Curry,
The impact of new strategy on informal network,
politics and key stakeholders (Okumus, 2003;
Trader-Leigh, 2002)
The attitude of stakeholders towards new Table I.
strategy (Okumus, 2003; Trader-Leigh, 2002) An implementation
(continued) checklist
IJPPM Barriers Facilitators (implementation checklist)
3. Inadequate training and support 3. Planning the implementation
(Hansson et al., 2003) Operational planning (Okumus, 2003; Reynolds
and Ablett, 1998; Hill and McGowan, 1999; Lewis
et al., 2004)
Resource allocation (Yusof and Aspinwall, 2002;
70 Hansson et al., 2003; Keating and Harrington,
2002; Dong, 2001)
Employee are ready to change (Hansson et al.,
2003; Chin and Pun, 2002; Okumus, 2003;
Trader-Leigh, 2002; Yusof and Aspinwall, 2002)
4. Appropriate training and education
Help employees to understand what is going on
and why (Hansson et al., 2003; Lewis et al., 2004;
Dong, 2001)
Provide the training courses that explain the new
system and how it works, further to enhance the
new skills required of employees to adopt the new
system (Hansson et al., 2003)
Additional training to forge what they had learnt
(Hansson et al., 2003)
5. Monitoring and evaluation
Control and feedback (formally and informally)
(Okumus, 2003)
The use of quick feedbacks to encourage
employees and management to continue with the
change process (Hansson et al., 2003)
Whether the objective have been achieved
(Okumus, 2003)
Whether the company has learn the lessoned from
Table I. the implementation process (Okumus, 2003)

Support and leadership

As was discussed above, senior management support is crucial for any change
initiative until it is fully established and accepted (see Latino, 1999; Allen and Kilmann,
2001; Chattopadhyay, 2001). Thus, management should ensure that they have the time
and resource to properly implement improvement efforts, and be realistic about the
time and wider impacts of change demands placed on their employees. A key person
should champion the change and facilitate it who must have excellent knowledge of the
new system and have the necessary political support to implement it (see, Cooke, 2000;
Reynolds and Ablett, 1998; Keating and Harrington, 2002; and Jackson, 2001).

Strategic planning
This involves activities linking the new system to the company mission, vision and
defined business strategy, and strategic priorities and goals (see, Lorange, 1998;
Trader-Leigh, 2002; Garrick, 1998; Garavan et al., 2002). The new strategy should be
consistent with the strategic direction of the company and be appropriate to the
prevailing market conditions. The expertise and knowledge of strategy makers in
managing change are crucial, and only active participation from all levels of
management will ensure its success. The potential impact of ongoing and future Performance
projects on the new initiative should be considered and an overall maintenance management
strategy is needed to guide those with responsibility for the day-to-day operation of the
new system. This must ensure senior management commitment to the implementation system
process. The impact of organizational culture on communication, coordination and
cooperation between different levels of management and functional areas should be
addressed, especially in relation to the potential impact of the new strategy on informal 71
networks, politics and key stakeholders (see, Barodoel and Sohal, 1999; Riis et al., 1997;
Okumus, 2003; Hansson et al., 2003; Aghazadeh, 2002; Yamashina, 2000; Page and
Curry, 2000).

Planning the implementation

The aim here should be to clearly identify obstacles to change, as well as the driving
forces behind it. This should include activities, which encourage the participation of all
concerned parties (e.g. front-line staff and management), usually by means of small
teams, in goal setting, and identifying solutions (see Hansson et al., 2003; Lewis et al.,
2004; Hill et al., 2001). The operational planning process will have a great deal of
impact on existing resources if it is to be implemented effectively. The procedures of
securing and allocating financial resources for the new system must therefore be clear
and transparent. They must take into account the necessary resource to influence
political and cultural barriers within the company through formal and informal
training interventions. When designing training interventions, the learner must see a
connection between the learning task and its potential consequences. Finally, a
thorough understanding of informal communication is needed to complement formal
communications, to generate increased interest and acceptance. Effective
communication will invariably present a key requirement of the implementation
strategy (see, Okumus, 2003; Reynolds and Ablett, 1998; Hill and McGowan, 1999;
Lewis et al., 2004; Hansson et al., 2003; Keating and Harrington, 2002; Dong, 2001; Shin
et al., 1998; Hodgkinson and Stewart, 1993).

Appropriate training and education

Appropriate training has an important part to play in enhancing individuals’
preparedness and abilities to change (Hansson et al., 2003). Training should bolster
efforts at communication by helping individuals to develop their contextual
understanding in order to convey what is going on, and why. Courses that explain
the concept of the new system and how to adopt the new system to the work will be
needed. Furthermore, training should be employed to enhance the new skills required
of people to adopt the new system. If the interval between training and practice is too
long, people tended to forget what they had learnt. Additional training may therefore
be required (see Hansson et al., 2003).

Monitoring and evaluation

Finally, careful monitoring of the implementation process is crucial to ensuring its
sustained effectiveness. This should include activities such as obtaining measurable
outcomes in order to provide a clear focus for monitoring and following through the
process. Essential elements of this should include control and feedback in the form of
both formal and informal mechanisms that allow the process of implementation to be
IJPPM monitored, the use of quick feedback such as customer satisfaction, which can
56,1 encourage employees to continue with the change process. Failure to achieve the
espoused objectives should be investigated and addressed (see, Hansson et al., 2003;
Okumus, 2003).

72 The process of successfully implementing a performance management system is
currently under-researched. This paper has explored the process of implementing one
such initiative within a large construction company. Based on the case study findings,
barriers and solutions to implementing transformational practices stem from a lack of
senior management commitment and support, employee resistance to change (which is
grounded in a reliance on ingrained working practices), and an absence of appropriate
learning interventions to facilitate their introduction. The practical implementation
methodology proposed in this paper provides a point of departure for companies
considering strategies for successful initiative implementation, and identifying
barriers and facilitators to the implementation process. The challenges, problems and
difficulties of implementation can be evaluated against the headings contained within
the framework, thereby providing a route towards the espoused goal of creating a
learning organization. Although the motivation for its development was based on
barriers to change manifested in a single case study, these are broadly reflective of
those emerging in other studies of strategic implementation across a range of different
areas (see Table I). Thus, given the range of sources from which it has been derived, it
is posited that this may provide a generic framework for further strategic
implementation in the future. However, future phases of the research will test the
framework’s ability overcome the barriers identified.

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