DO INFORMAL NETWORKS MATTER INSIDE PUBLIC ORGANIZATIONS?
This case tells you how a municipality with 600 employees accelerated the success of its organization to work as ONE
The Municipality of Helsingør in Denmark was the first organization in the public sector, which utilized organizational network analysis on a large scale to conduct an organizational network diagnostic. The purpose was to create knowledge and a solid background for streamlining organizational change. They recognized that instead of using their gut feelings or purely subjective consulting, they undertook this evidence approach to understand their ability to drive change, its satisfaction around the change initiatives, and the potentials for working as ONE.
From a bird’s-eye view, it was clear that the central administration connected all other parts of the organization together. Its managers, however, were the group of people within the central administration who was connected the least with other managers from the other parts.
When we looked into the connectivity inside the specific organizational parts, friction was identified. The below visualization shows a deep dive into one of the organizational parts. This clearly showed that the same organization consisted of two different silos. The silo at the bottom had a high degree of connectivity with a specific unit – marked as green. There was clearly a potential of reorganization. What on paper appeared to be two different units, the real organization revealed a different story!
The organizational network diagnostic provided everyone involved, including politicians and workplace representatives, a clear picture of the challenges and possibility to act on data and concrete knowledge. Most importantly, it created a different and better organization than if they had left out the diagnostic of their organizational networks.
It helped the Municipality to transform 25 departments to 12 centers by focusing on which departments and collaborative relations worked well and where there was room for improvement.
This evidence-based diagnostic of establishing the new organization was remarkably different from the traditional approach and it meant that the municipality could within a period of just six weeks:
- complete a decision-process of the extremely thorough organizational change
- streamline where there was acceptance among key stakeholders