Purpose The purpose of the paper is to present a theory of organisational change within the setting of a governmental bureaucracy. Design/methodology/ approach Orthodox grounded theory is employed in the setting of a change programme in 12 Audit departments of the Dutch Ministries (public-sector). Findings The examined organisational change has specific characteristics. The Dutch 'ministerial autonomy' and the clearly recognizable role types of the key figures involved have a strong impact on the change programme and the realisation of its goals. Research limitations/implications Findings are derived on the basis of a substantive case study of the change programme of the Dutch Departmental Audit function. The research sheds new light on characteristics related to the occupational group of Chartered Accountants and characteristics of a governmental bureaucracy and it helps to understand change programmes within this bureaucracy. Practical implications The grounded theoretical model draws attention to the impact of key figures and circumstances on a change programme within the central government. Originality/value The paper builds on theories of organisational change but applies them in the typical context of the Dutch civil service where ministerial autonomy, on the one hand, and a move in the direction of more centrally organised activities (concern idea), on the other, require a difficult balancing act of all players in the change arena.

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doi.org/10.1007/s10997-008-9069-2, hdl.handle.net/1765/14925
ERIM Article Series (EAS)
Journal of Management & Governance
Erasmus Research Institute of Management

de Korte, R., & van der Pijl, G. (2009). Characteristics of a central change programme within a governmental bureaucracy: A grounded theory study. Journal of Management & Governance, 13(1-2), 5–40. doi:10.1007/s10997-008-9069-2