Change processes in the professional bureaucracy

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6 Citations (Scopus)


The limits of organizational change often make effective implementation of policies difficult. This article examines how change can be accomplished in the professional bureaucracy. Examples in community mental health and compensatory education are employed to illustrate the points discussed. It is concluded that because professionals function independently and their work cannot be easily replaced, change in the professional bureaucracy would inevitably involve (a) replacing existing staff with people sympathetic to the change or (b) convincing and motivating existing staff to implement the change. Except for crisis situations in which the leadership can take advantage to organize for change, other strategies seem to be secondary to these requirements. Copyright © 1990 Wiley Periodicals, Inc., A Wiley Company.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)183-193
JournalJournal of Community Psychology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1990


Cheng, S.-T. (1990). Change processes in the professional bureaucracy. Journal of Community Psychology, 18(3), 183-193. doi: 10.1002/1520-6629(199007)18:3<183::AID-JCOP2290180302>3.0.CO;2-H


  • Organizational change
  • Bureaucracy
  • Community mental health services
  • Compensatory education
  • Professional employees
  • Leadership


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