Exploring the process of change in British Columbia social services, 1991-2001 : the benefits of hindsight




Hardy, Bruce Frederick

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In 1991, a political event took place in British Columbia that had a major impact on the provision of social services. The province, which for 16 years had been governed by a right-of-centre, pro-business political party was, for the first time since 1975, governed by the left-of-centre NDP party. This conversion of government brought with it a series of major shifts in the provision of social services throughout the province. The organizational change that was initiated continued for the entire 10-year mandate of the provincial NDP. This study explores the period of change and related issues using a hybrid model of methods derived from case study. Methods include participant observer research, a review of relevant literature and documents, and most significantly, key informant interviews with many of the leaders in provincial social services between 1991 and 2001. Findings reflect the relationship between leadership and change and in particular the importance of the former to the latter. Findings also explore the role of values in social services change agendas, the importance of stakeholder involvement in organizational change and the importance of communications and media in the context of change.



social policy, British Columbia