Carnegie, Jaques and requisite organization: a meeting of minds at Conzinc Riotinto Australia 1977-1993

Lynch, Ronald Paul (2011) Carnegie, Jaques and requisite organization: a meeting of minds at Conzinc Riotinto Australia 1977-1993. PhD thesis, James Cook University.

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Abstract

This thesis, Carnegie, Jaques and Requisite Organisation: A meeting of minds at Conzinc Riotinto Australia, 1977 - 1993 endorses the OD intervention at CRA as a unique journey undertaken between two extraordinarily intelligent individuals, at a specific intersection of their working lives that, over time, resulted in a restructured global mining house and the subsequent birth of Requisite Organisation in 1989. The study aim melded the core parameters of Carnegie, Jaques, Organisation Development and Kotter into a meaningful research challenge, to analyse the Carnegie/Jaques Organisation Development intervention at Conzinc Riotinto Australia through the lens of Kotter's eight step Organisational Change Process.

Working in and researching organisational change management in the Australian mining industry remains a personal journey that spans three decades. Engagement during this era consisted of firstly CRA/Comalco (in staff operational and support roles) and the Queensland energy sector (interfacing with the sugar and mining sectors) in Queensland. Lastly with a climate change management consultancy consulting to Australia's largest mining companies on climate change strategies, carbon pricing, emissions intensive trade exposed (EITE) energy models and electrical, fuel and carbon mitigation strategies in Queensland, Northern Territory and Western Australia.

This thesis builds on mining industry research undertaken by Swain (1995), Ludeke (1996) and Hearn Mackinnon (2004). It converges on organisational change management as a business imperative over an extended period within the CRA group. Swain's PhD compared and contrasted Industrial Relations Strategy within CRA, BHP and Robe River Associates in Western Australia. Ludeke researched Comalco in Queensland, Tasmania and New Zealand, based around a legalistic perspective relating to the offer of salaried staff employment. Hearn Mackinnon's PhD on CRA researched Strategic Management and Employee Relations principally focusing on the concept of managerial prerogative.

The primary research methodology employed is a single qualitative case study. The case study is buttressed by triangulation of interviews and focus groups, analysis of documentation, stakeholder analysis and participant observation. Love's (2002) seven aspect model is introduced as an anchor point for the methodological analysis and selection of a study hypothesis. Theories scrutinised were ontological perspective(s), epistemological perspective(s), methodological perspectives, research methodologies, research methods, datagathering and analysis techniques. Ontological and epistemological assumptions are identified as a key intersection in determining choices available from which to select a methodology. Qualitative and quantitative templates were compared and contrasted, with qualitative chosen as the companion to a core case study model of inquiry because of the adeptness of qualitative research to embrace a case study model with a study narrative.

The literature review undertaken in Chapter 2 is described as the first among equals within a trilogy of chapters informing both the research question and methodology. Outcomes of the literature review steered the development of the study aim buttressed by six enabling questions. The methodology chosen is elaborated on in Chapter 3. The core chapters of the study, four through to eight, are identified as the early years, trials of the process, the five stratum business unit model, systems leadership development, award restructuring and the offer of salaried staff employment to the award employees. Chapter 9 correlated the enabling objectives with the study aim to produce the research outcomes and suggestions for additional research. Literature disparities were identified relevant to the OD intervention and these omissions established the knowledge gap fundamental to any rigorous academic endeavour.

Organisational change management was chosen as the intellectual hypothesis umbrella under which the study parameters were opened. The philosophy and necessity to radically change the strategic direction of companies by a significant change management intervention is noted with the 1970s being a watershed in international economic development in Australia ACIRRT 1999). Greiner and Cummings (2004) described OD as a model of change management that applies behavioural science knowledge to the planned change and development of an organisation. Change management on this scale can involve strategy realignment, structural and organisational transformation, process redesign, culture realignment, organisational behaviour and leadership development. An OD change management intervention may be predicated on enhancing the efficiency and effectiveness of the business to deliver superior goods and services to its internal and external customers.

The period under research was pinpointed within a background of ongoing and relentless organisational change occurring throughout the company between 1970 and 2008. An exploratory literature search identified 1977 - 1986 as the organisational development intervention period within the company. This beginning of the change phase was initiated by the Chief Executive Officer Sir Roderick Carnegie. Professor Elliott Jaques from the Brunel Institute of Social Sciences (BIOSS) in the United Kingdom was invited to contribute to theory development within the project after Carnegie had read Jaques' book, A General Theory of Bureaucracy. Carnegie has often remarked that his 'crossing of the Rubicon' or 'Ah-ha moment' occurred when reading this book. Carnegie's intellect was aroused by Figure 10.7, growth of individual capacity, on p. 173. This was the beginning of the Carnegie/Jaques professional, intellectual and personal relationship that endured the passage of time up until Jaques passed away in 2003.

Jaques was a psychoanalyst, organisational theorist and management consultant, and was retained by Carnegie on behalf of CRA to test Stratified Systems Theory within the company. The timeframe of 1987 - 1993 involved a multiplicity of corporate initiated projects following the OD phase. Projects included integration of Stratified Systems Theory within business units and the executive group, systems leadership training and development, continuous improvement and investigating options for a futuristic model of remunerating the award workforce.

The study's aim for the OD intervention at CRA is achieved within an overarching framework of Kotter's theories on organisational change processes. The theoretical approach firstly engaged the eight steps to transforming your organisation, and secondly investigated the generic change management theories advocated in leading change in organisational development within CRA. Kotter notes that successful change begins when individuals look at a company's competitive situation, market position, technological trends and financial performance. Companies also change by moving through a phase or steps that usually require a considerable period of time. This focus on successful change management strategies is consistent with CRA's nine year transition to a RO structured organisation.

Six enabling objectives underpinned the research aim: (i) identify significant factors contributing to the establishment of the OD intervention project in 1979, (ii) analyse the linkages between the OD trials at three CRA mine and process plants and the go/no-go decision trigger for the project, (iii) analyse a typical OD implementation at the Raw Materials Business Unit (the world's largest bauxite mine) at Comalco Weipa, (iv) appraise the implementation of system leadership training and development (T & D) following on from the Carnegie/Jaques' OD intervention, (v) expand on stage seven of Kotter's model (producing still more change) to analyse the offer of salaried staff employment to the award workforce in the company's metalliferous mine and process operations, (vi) develop a model for organisational change intervention in the Australian mining industry based around Requisite Organisation (RO) principles, and Kotter's eight step change model.

The outcomes of the research built from the six enabling objectives engendered conclusive outcomes. A three stage change management model based on Requisite Organisation principles, unique facets of the initial OD intervention template, Kotter's eight step change process, combined with learnings from this study and RioTinto's 'Mine of the Future'™ was developed. An expanded six stage prerequisite template melds Kotter's eight step change management process with five additional pre-conditions, embedded within a modified Swiss cheese prototype. Ongoing learning and development, combined with systems leadership structured courses, highlighted an essential embedded element. The criticality of melding structure, organisation process and people at work together is integrated seamlessly into the process.

The significant factors contributing to the establishment of the OD intervention project in 1979 were noted as a business imperative from the office of the CEO. Carnegie believed the corporation was in danger of a takeover, owned and operated a number of sites that were basket cases, and had fallen behind the Canadians in undertaking benchmarking trials. The linkages between the OD trials at three CRA mine and process plants and the go/no-go decision trigger for the project were identified from initial work undertaken at Woodlawn in New South Wales. Outcomes highlighted the importance of conducting one or more pertinent trials to test a change management intervention before implementing companywide change. The organisation change trial model allows a business to assess the impacts and outcomes of a change process under a controlled situation.

Analysing a typical OD implementation at the Raw Materials Business Unit mine site at Weipa showcased the theories being implemented at a world class mineral deposit. Carnegie frequently raised the issue of the 'Broken Hill Mine Managers' Club' being an impediment to moving forward with new ideas at the executive level. In Weipa the equivalent was the 'Superintendents' Group'. The Supervisor's role evolved into an on-going debate between site management and the OD project team as well as consuming an inordinate amount of project and management time. Strong leadership carried the day and the restructure was perceived to be successful. The implementation of system leadership training and development, following from the Carnegie/Jaques' OD intervention, was generally known as stage two of the process. Leadership development continued through to 2004.

The study expanded on stage seven of Kotter's change management process (producing still more change) to analyse the offer of salaried staff employment to the award workforce in the company's metalliferous mine and process operations. This was a two stage process and disclosed that the failure of the award restructuring process led directly to the option of looking at alternative methods of remunerating the award workforce. The workforce was offered salaried staff employment in late 1993.

The thesis is not an end in itself. Researching organisation change management relating to CRA/Comalco, now known as RioTinto, and the mining industry generally is ongoing. The wrapping up of this study opens the door to complementary inquiry based around the Australian mining industry.

Item ID: 23715
Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: a meeting of minds; Australian mining industry; award restructuring; climate change management; Comalco Weipa; Conzinc Riotinto Australia; CRA; Elliott Jaques; John Kotter; OD; organisational change management; organisational development; organizational change management; organizational development; requisite organisation; requisite organization; RioTinto; salaried staff employment; Sir Roderick Carnegie; SST; stratified systems theory; time span of discretion
Date Deposited: 30 Oct 2012 05:17
FoR Codes: 15 COMMERCE, MANAGEMENT, TOURISM AND SERVICES > 1503 Business and Management > 150310 Organisation and Management Theory @ 34%
15 COMMERCE, MANAGEMENT, TOURISM AND SERVICES > 1503 Business and Management > 150312 Organisational Planning and Management @ 33%
15 COMMERCE, MANAGEMENT, TOURISM AND SERVICES > 1503 Business and Management > 150313 Quality Management @ 33%
SEO Codes: 91 ECONOMIC FRAMEWORK > 9104 Management and Productivity > 910402 Management @ 100%
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