Diversity in Oz

Topic(s): diversity

Topic: Diversity
Publication: Human Resource Management
Article: Making public organizations more inclusive: A case study of the Victoria Police Force.
Blogger: Rob Stilson

In this study, the authors address change strategies implemented in the Victoria Police Force (VPF) of Australia to move the VFP from being somewhat of a good ole’ boys club to being more inclusive of women and minorities.  The VPF had what is known as a male hegemonic culture, which research has shown to have be a barrier to inclusiveness (unless you can chug the beer, put your head on the bat, spin around, and make it to first base without tripping). And the fact that the VPF is a public rather than private sector organization made the change that much more of a challenge since change can be harder to implement in these organizations unless there is significant pressure from outside forces like the public as was the case with this change.

So, the way this organizational change went down is that the former Chief Commissioner retired in 2001 and the government appointed a woman to the position for the first time in history. Christine Nixon hit the ground running and included everyone in the change process. The main goals for the VPF included attracting more women and minorities. Up to this point she has been successful in doing so with the percentage of women going from 14% to 16% and a goal of 25% by the end of 2007 (I don’t have that data). Statistics were not given for the percentage of minorities currently in the police force. Lessons learned from this case study include:

· Change the culture of the organization first with an emphasis on behavioral

o   Modified vision statements

o   Clearly and simply stated how things were going to be done from now on with 6 core values (see article)

·Combine top-down and bottom-up approaches to change . This allows simultaneous input from all levels. However, to pull this off you need to have a really strong and clear vision and not just fly by the seat of your pants.

·Using an incremental change strategy allowed changes later in the process to build upon changes that had already been implemented.

As the authors point out, these lessons learned are associated with what you think of for a traditional change model, however, the way the changes were introduced was not found in the literature. The big take home message is that the only way these drastic changes were possible was due to support at the top. Without support from the higher ups, the organizational change is doomed to fail.

Metz, I., and Kulik, C. T., (2008) Making public organizations more inclusive: A case study of the Victoria Police Force. Human Resource Management, 47(2), 369-387.