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Engendering change within a water infrastructure client organization : a participatory action research approach

Potts, M; Awuzie, BO; McDermott, P; Stephenson, A


M Potts

BO Awuzie

A Stephenson


Continuing demands by stakeholders for improved service delivery has caused Infrastructure Client Organisations (ICO) in the UK to embark upon organisational restructuring. It is expected that such restructuring would enhance cost-effectiveness and quality in asset management and service delivery. However, this change, if not properly managed and sustained, could result in the inability of the ICO to achieve these targets. This study outlines the use of systemic thinking and Participatory Action Research (PAR) in driving and managing such change within a UK-based Water and Wastewater ICO (UK WASC). Besides highlighting the context for change in response to policy, austerity and regulatory pressures, this study portrays how the PAR approach can assist in the management of change within ICOs. Furthermore, it provides an insight into the evolution of an external researcher, from novice to expert within the ICO, imbued with the required knowledge to encourage other stakeholders to participate in driving the change management process. Preliminary findings indicate the usefulness of this phased approach toward PAR. This study provides a platform for researchers wishing to engage with ICOs to improve service delivery, identifying the value of engagement, change and systemic thinking.


Potts, M., Awuzie, B., McDermott, P., & Stephenson, A. (2015). Engendering change within a water infrastructure client organization : a participatory action research approach. Journal of engineering, project, and production management, 5(2), 71-81

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date May 24, 2015
Publication Date Jun 16, 2015
Deposit Date Apr 5, 2016
Journal Journal of Engineering, Project, and Production Management
Print ISSN 2221-6529
Electronic ISSN 2223-8379
Volume 5
Issue 2
Pages 71-81
Publisher URL
Related Public URLs
Additional Information Funders : Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)
Projects : iCASE - Towards the development of a New Delivery System for water sector infrastructure projects – organisational development through action research.