Relatedness of People’s Perceptions and Experiences of Change to the Status of Change: Lessons from the Department of Correctional Services of South Africa
AbstractThis paper follows other papers published by the authors whose focus was on the human dimension of transformational change within an offender correctional environment. Transformational change in Correctional Services represents a paradigm shift in the treatment of offenders from a punishment-based philosophy to a rehabilitation-driven approach. The paper seeks to give an account of the relatedness of people’s perceptions and experiences of change to the status of change based on empirical evidence collected from the correctional centres of the Department of Correctional Services in the KwaZulu-Natal Province of the Republic of South Africa. There is currently minimal practical proof and confirmation on the significant role that people issues play in influencing the course of change in terms of whether the change implemented would be successful or not. This gap motivated the authors to undertake an empirical study which investigated and explored the correlation between people’s perceptions and experiences of change to the status of change from the perspective of correctional officials and offenders. This was a meaningful and distinctive study given the fact that organisational change scholars have advanced a plausible argument that the high failure rate in transformational change implementation is attributed to the neglect of the human factor during the planning and implementation phases of the change management process. The study was intended to benefit change strategists and change implementers in both service delivery and profit-making organisations in South Africa and globally. For purposes of contextualising the association between people’s perceptions and experiences of change and the status of change within the Department of Correctional Services and South Africa in general, an extensive literature study was undertaken. The literature study was followed by the empirical study whereby data was collected by means of two survey questionnaires tailor made for correctional officials and offenders. The empirical findings pointed to the fact that there is indeed a causal link between correctional officials’ and offenders’ perceptions and experiences of DCS transformational change and the status of DCS transformational change.
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