Determinants of successful adoption of the Dutch Social Support Act: A multiple case study of Amsterdam, Breda, Enschede and Rotterdam
MetadataShow full item record
Purpose –The Social Support Act, introduced in the Netherlands already in 2007, transferred practically all non-residential to municipalities. This reform is among the biggest recent operations within Dutch local administration and presented municipalities with a few challenges. Service-delivery had to be innovated and improved, and overall costs reduced. This reform was believed to entail profound organizational change. However, it remains unclear what change management practices municipalities have deployed to adopt the Social Support Act. The aim of this study is to deepen our understanding of the determinants leading to successful adoption of this Act. Design/methodology/approach – A study of the course of change following the framework posed by Fernandez and Rainey (2006) is performed to address this aim. Four large municipalities were selected based on their size and geographical location. Departing from rational-adaptive theory, semi-structured interviews were conducted with 20 respondents involved in the implementation of the Social Support Act. Additional documentation was collected mainly through publicly accessible information systems. Data were analyzed based on initial and focused coding. Findings – Findings indicate that vision, availability of sufficient resources, and support from both internal and external stakeholders leaded to a successful adoption of the Social Support Act. However, the pursuit of comprehensive change did not hold, due to the complexity of the Social Support Act. Officials did perceive institutionalize change by altering processes and organizational culture as important, but found incremental change to be more useful to get a better understanding of the interdependencies between internal and external actors. Originality/value – This study breaks through several patterns currently existing in the field of organizational change. Most studies focus on organizational change in the private sector and often have a U.S./Anglo-Saxon origin. Furthermore, the content and context of change is often subject to debate, rather than the actual process of change. In contrast, this study examines the determinants of successful change among Dutch municipalities by focussing predominantly on the process of change.