Understanding The Behavioural Reactions To Shared Services

Published: 1st October 2015 Category: Transform Download Article as PDF

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In the SSA Trust & Shared Vision Toolbox, Tool 2.07 focuses on the strength of commitment within each partner to making the shared service activity happen.

Based on academic research, the tool suggests four broad categories:

  • The Champions
  • The Supporters
  • The Critics
  • The Blockers

Your partnership workgroup can use these categories to identify who is in them and what needs to be done to move them all to Champion status.

Behaviour Mapping vs Stakeholder Mapping

We have taken a next step. Building on the stakeholder mapping, we began to look at the actual behaviours we were encountering in our work. This took us into a more nuanced, and more effective for us, version of Tool 2.07.

Members of the team encountered repeated behavioural styles, within and outside our organisation that enabled them to attempt to understand people in more detail. It is important to point out that many stakeholders moved between roles depending on their acceptance and understanding of the change at any given point in time. The trick was to manage our stakeholders in such a way that they moved towards the more “healthy” roles.

Some examples of the more nuanced categories are:

  • The Dogmatists – tend to be people in charge, this can be hard to manage but need your own strategies to overcome
  • The Saboteurs – tend to be people under threat, or close to the operation, who either openly or act underhandedly against the work.

You can see the other categories we mapped on the following pages. It also felt important to understand the various connections between the characters as sometimes we encountered alliances working together to influence change in projects we were working on. Some were helpful, but others could have led to a sub-optimal service if indulged.

The result of our analysis of the groups and how they are likely to view the world is set out on the following pages.

By understanding their behaviours we feel better able to employ strategies to counter the impacts their activity will have.

Standing at the crossroads

Commercialisation in government is new and as such is going to be hard, before it becomes part of what Orbis can fully implement.

Many good colleagues are being called upon to make really tough decisions. They are at a career crossroads with changing roles and authority.

To understand them better, we profiled our categories against the “crossroads test”. How did we feel our ‘characters’ would react at the crossroads of difficult decision making?

In projects, stakeholder mapping is a standard practice. However it is useful to look at stakeholder behaviours as well, to ensure you have the right plans in place for communication and engagement activity.

You could use the following two maps as a tool to discuss how you will handle differing behaviours as you encounter them. What strategies could you develop to move these behaviours into a supportive space for your project?

This exercise is experience based, rather than evidence based – but when it comes to people, power and politics, sometimes it helps to trust your intuition.

Download the PDF resource for:
– Stakeholder behaviour interactions encountered in shared service working
– On the journey, the stakeholders come to crossroads with new possible routes. How can you help them, to the benefit of your project?

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