CRANEFIELD COLLEGE OF PROJECT AND PROGRAMME MANAGEMENT INDIVIDUAL ASSIGNMENT FOR MODULE 2 MODULE
CRANEFIELD COLLEGE OF PROJECT AND PROGRAMME MANAGEMENT
MODULE:Programme Managing Organisational Performance and Innovative Improvement (M2)
CASE:Royal Dutch/Shell – what does it take to bring change?
Source:Lynch R. 2006. “Corporate Strategy”, 4th Edition, Prentice Hall.
“I hereby declare that this assignment is entirely my own work, and that it has not previously been submitted to any other Higher Education Institution. I also declare that all published and unpublished sources have been fully acknowledged and properly referenced. This includes figures, tables and exhibits. Where modified by me, this has also been indicated.”
Name ID Number Signature
Anna J. du Plessis 7602130014083 Signed
Date: 23 April 2018
TABLE OF CONTENT
Par No Description Page No
Table of Content 2
1 Executive Summary 3-4
2 Introduction 4
3 Structural Strategy Challenges 5-7
4 Behavioral Strategy Challenges 8-11
5 Operations Strategy Challenges 11-14
6 Recommendations 14-17
7 Conclusions 18
8 Bibliography 19-20
Royal Dutch/Shell is a joint venture (Organizational Restructuring within the Royal Dutch Shell Group: 123) between the UK company Shell Transport and Trading, and the Dutch Oil Company, Royal Dutch (Lynch: 2006). According to Grant (2008: Online) both companies were formed with European bases but with their main activities in the Far East.
This case study deals with the organizational changes that Royal Dutch/Shell (hereinafter Shell) underwent to respond to the operating environmental changes that oil companies faced in the nineties. The case analyses the organizational changes that were implemented over the period 1995 until 2004 and the reasons why the company did not achieve the desired results within the oil industry.
By the early 1990’s, Shell experienced major challenges due to their strict approach to business. They strived for standardization within this international company but followed a Mechanistic Bureaucracy. A mechanistic bureaucracy applies strict rules, narrowly defined tasks and top-down communication with a tendency towards centralized decision making (Steyn and Schmikl: 77). Bureaucracies are the epitome of inefficiency according to Steyn and Schmikl (2016).
They were highly decentralized and operated all over the world, even though their headquarters were in London and The Hague. The company inherited their procedures, techniques and culture from their parent companies. The company believed in total control which resulted in the employees having no authority and autonomy under their job descriptions. The total concept of operative or business planning was something that Royal Dutch/Shell was not familiar with as they only considered long term goals.
The main challenges that were experienced due to the outdated strategy were lack of professionalism, bureaucratic structure, lack of competitiveness and environmental factors. According to Grant (2008: Online), they operated through a three way matrix structure that consisted of a regional coordination structure, the business coordination structure and the functional coordination structure. The McKinsey-designed matrix structure was regarded as costly, slow-moving and top-heavy by the industry.
The research identified challenges by analysing the Operational strategy, Behavioral strategy and Structural strategy applied in the company.
The methodology employed to evaluate the case study is done according to the model of Harvey and Brown (Steyn P. and Van Dyk P. 2017:76).
This research paper evaluates the case study by applying project and programme management principles to demonstrate how continuous improvement principles can enhance organizational performance.
The role of quality and performance management in the organizational supply chain is scrutinized to determine how it can improve the organizational value chain. The business strategy theory is compared to the practice to see how it meets challenges in both the internal and external organizational environments.
The creation of effective and efficient project and process teams within the organisation from a behavioral perspective is evaluated. The strategic financial management theories are analysed to demonstrate how an appropriate financial strategy can add value to the overall corporate strategy of an organisation.
Shell is one of the world largest oil companies but failed to perform optimal due to the operational, structural and behavioral challenges that it faced. The structural strategy, behavioral strategy and operational strategy of an organisation determines the organizational performance and improvement of the organisation in general. This is illustrated in the Harvey and Brown diagnostic model (Steyn P. and Van Dyk P. 2017:76).
This paper will analyse the various aspects of the case study and will conduct an evaluation of the status of the company in the period 1995 up to 2005, reasons for the issues that hampered the performance of the company during the time and will propose the steps that the company could have taken to bring change to the company with the benefits related to the change.
3.STRUCTURAL STRATEGY CHALLENGES
According to Paperhelp.org 2018: Online, Organisational change is a technique or procedure where organisations transform their current structure, technology or culture to keep up with the constantly changing environment and the competitive market.
If an organisation fails to change when the environment requires such a change it will lose competitiveness and may become redundant or obsolete (Steyn P. and Schmikl E: 2, 10). Change management is a strategic process that is implemented by management which influences the structure, technology and culture of an organisation as well as the way that the said change is perceived by the individuals or teams within the organisation (Managing change in organisation essay:1). Proper change management can transform an organisation to restore itself to be more effective and to cope effectively with the changing internal and external environment. Radical change is sometimes required but according to Steyn and Schmikl (2016:243) it can be extremely traumatic for staff and become very expensive.
According to Grant (2002: Online), Shell adapted the matrix structure from the early 1960s until 1994, this matrix structure was created within its service companies to manage its operating companies. The three dimensions of this matrix were represented by the principle executives of the service companies, who were designated “coordinators”. Thus the senior management team at the beginning of 1995 included the following: Committee of Managing Directors (Chairman, Vice Chairman and three other Managing Directors), Regional Coordinators (4 Regions), Sector Coordinators (7 Sectors) and Functional Coordinators (10 Functions).
In 1990 the Gulf War brought a new dimension to the environment in which the oil companies operated. The Iraqi invasion of Kuwait led to uncertainty wrt oil supply in the world. Iraq was aiming to gain control of the world’s third largest oil producer in order to obtain more control over the world market. Prices started to decline after the war and by 1994 the oil price reached its lowest level in 21 years. The declining oil prices put pressure on the oil companies’ profit margins, including Shell.
The other oil companies adapted rapidly to the changing environment due to the way that their companies were structured. These companies introduced radical changes in strategy and organizational structure.
By 1995 The Company was a joint holding company between the UK Company Shell Transport and the Dutch oil company Royal Dutch. This resulted in no strong core, nor any combined board of directors (Lynch: 466). There was a central management forum that was called “the Conference”. This forum had no legal existence as it was merely a meeting of the management boards of the two companies. Shell did not keep up with the rest of the companies and did not have an appointed Chief Executive Officer (CEO) to drive the changes. There were too many people employed in London and Rotterdam that was responsible to co-ordinate the national policies associated with the regional barons (Lynch: 466).
In 1995 The company did not evolve with the rest of the world’s oil companies as its structure resulted in reducing accountability, blurring responsibility and increasing costs for the company as was commented by stockbrokers BT Alex Brown (Lynch: 466).
Dissatisfaction over financial performance forced Shell to reconsider its position and to immediately give attention to short-term financial results and move attention away from long term development.
Shell realized that they need to adapt or die. They applied the “Intervention Strategy Model” to bring change to the company. This was not very successful Shell is a very big company and proper change management strategies were not applied. According to Steyn and Schmikl (2016:243) transformation and change do not happened easily if an ad hoc approach is followed. Shell simply did not have the transformational leaders that are required to bring change.
By the end of 1995 a new strategy was implemented (Lynch: 466). This new strategy included that the national companies would report to a series of global operating companies. The aim was to save cost and focus decisions on the regional and global decision making. The result of the changes were that 900 Jobs would be lost which resulted to resistance to change within the company (the basic need for security is threatened), the consultation culture resulted in lengthy negotiations with staff and Barons were still in power due to their membership of the new business committees. All this brought no relieve to the company as the Companies’ profit margins were decreasing.
Shell extended their reorganization from 1997 up to 2000 after they did not achieve the desired results. They restructured by replacing the business committees by Chief Executives. They eventually incorporated Shell Oil of the US into the Shell global organisation. They also increased executive authority and accountability by moving away from collective responsibility towards individual responsibility. The decision making process was speeded up but the desired results were still not achieved.
In 2001, Sir Phillip became the Chairman of the CMD. He did not implement the desired structural changes to the organisation either and the company was losing market share. He was not the required transformational leader that would save Shell from regeneration.
In March 2004, Jeroen van der Veer succeeded Sir Phillip as Chairman of the committee of managing directors of Shell. He had two major tasks: To repair the damage to the company’s reputation as a result of the problems and secondly to reorganize the company to a more manageable whole (Lynch: 468).
In October 2004 the following structural changes were made: Company would be reformed into one company with its headquarters in the Netherlands, dual HQ in London would be disbanded, and CEO and Chairman would be Dutch. (Appointment would be made on merit rather than nationality). They also decided that Shell would be primarily listed in London. They would have a single board with executives and non-executives sitting together as one. Some legal and tax issues were unresolved by then. Van der Veen was of the opinion that the simple structure would result in less meetings with fewer executives that are able to make quicker decisions (Lynch: 468).
4.BEHAVIORAL STRATEGY CHALLENGES
Shell CMD was not conducive to dynamic leadership and organizational change. Leadership is the engine that drives change (Steyn P. and Schmikl: 5), but at Shell the Managing Directors were old and worked at Shell for many years. The four-year limit on any chairman’s tenure makes a long term program of organizational change difficult to implement.
Bickerton stated that in his own words, the Chairman of the company’s CMD (Cor Herkströter) admitted that “Shell had become too set in its ways, immobile and overstaffed” (2012: Online). The company McKinsey was hired to unwind the matrix system build on geographical regional control with one founded in operating divisions.
In 1995 decision making was very cumbersome as employees were members of one of the various subsidiaries of Shell and not from a central point of decision making. There was no Chief Executive Officer to take final decisions. Decisions were taken by the “Barons” at the national companies.
Organisational change within a large organisation depends heavily upon effective leadership throughout the organisation. These executive leaders must depend on leadership throughout the organisation to support them to bring change (Steyn P. and Schmikl: 18). This leadership was absent at Shell and resulted in Shell not achieving the desired changes. According to Kotter (2003) all successful organizational transformations are essentially leadership based (70-90%).
The reorganization implemented in 1995/6 by Shell did however not achieve the results they strived for. By 1995/6 Shell had a culture to manage by committees rather than by individuals executives. According to Grant, they did little to resolve the lack of clarity between the responsibilities of the business organisations and the operating companies (2008: Online). Operating companies were not changed much. The operating companies were defined by country, and over a vast variety of business sectors. The new organisation was not able to operate neither financially independent nor strategically independent as a global business enterprise.
According to Ivancevich and Matterson (1996), major change threatens the basic needs of individuals which are stability and predictability. A direct result is resistance to change. The fact that Shell did not implement proper change management strategies resulted in failure of all their attempts to turn the organisation around.
The two main reasons for resistance to change are the fear of losing the job status and job security. Not everyone takes change well. The fear of losing can result in failure of the change process. This will result in low morale. Individuals are scared of failure and therefor have a resistance to change. People are scared that they will lose the status that their job brings and the security that it provides. This was researched by Lewin in 1940 and was clear in this case study.
Mark Moody-Stuart became chairman of the CMD and Shell extended their reorganization from 1997 up to 2000. They did not achieve the desired results during the first re-organisation. They replaced the business committees by Chief Executives. They eventually incorporated Shell Oil of the US into the Shell global organisation. They also increased executive authority and accountability by moving away from collective responsibility towards individual responsibility (Grant). The decision making process was speeded up.
According to Grant (2008: Online), the CEO had clear strategic and business responsibilities on the business level. At the Corporate level they moved away from the Chairman of the CMD that was the “first-among-equals” to be more of a corporate chief executive.
It is clear that the organisation was not ready for change, as the leadership did not prepare them in line with proper change management principles. Top management failed to communicate, as is critical during the change process (Steyn and Schmikl: 237-238). The six general approaches to deal with resistance to change are: education and communication, participation and involvement, facilitation and support, negotiation and agreement, manipulation and co-optation and explicit and implicit coercion. No evidence could be found in this case study that Shell leadership applied any of these approaches during any of their change processes.
In 2001, Sir Phillip became the Chairman of the CMD. He was a devoted Christian and very driven, typically the command and control-type. Transformational leaders tend to be naturally intuitive and instinctive and deal with situations by relying on their intuition and instinct (Steyn and Schmikl: 36). Sir Phillip was ruthless but lost touch with reality. According to Steyn and Schmikl (2016:243) it is very important that organisations have creative and innovative leaders that can help them to move forward ito strategic transformation and change. Sir Phillip did not possess these qualities.
A learning organisation has a performance-orientated culture with sound accountability and responsibility allocated to employees (Steyn and Schmikl: 38). This was not the case at Shell. In 2004 Shell was embarrassed by the SEC report (450 pages) compiled by the US law firm of Davis, Polk and Wardwell wrt the overstating of oil reserves (Lynch: 468). They found that employees of Shell were unhappy with the situation. They (exploration and production employees) warned Walter Van de Vijver in December 2003 that the SEC filling in 2002 was materially wrong and that not to disclose it, would constitute a violation of US securities law, and increase any potential exposure to liability within and outside the US. Walter Van de Vijver did not agree with them and responded that “This is absolute dynamite, not at all what I expected and needs to be destroyed.” These comments were not destroyed and were included in the report by the law firm (Lynch: 468).
The report also investigated the role of the CFO. It found that she was in a difficult situation because of the confused organizational state of Shell in the period 2003/4. The report pointed out that her ability to act effectively in a compliance function was somewhat impaired because, until recently none of the business units CFOs reported to her. The report found that the CFOs responsibilities exceeded her authority. She basically was not told and had no authority to discover the situation because of the fragmented nature of the company (Lynch: 468). It is evident that the breakdown of trust within Shell created a negative organizational climate resulting in poor job satisfaction, job involvement and organizational commitment (Steyn and Schmikl: 63). A general poor organizational climate existed at Shell and the CFO was made the scapegoat for the lack of leadership from the top management.
The total lack of proper change management resulted that by 2005, less than one half of employees were happy with the way that the company was managed (47% drop of employee satisfaction since 2002). Low morale was observed at the exploration and production part of the company due to the overbooking of reserves. Employees were of the opinion that not much have changed and that the top management was set in their ways. A true bureaucratic structure was still present where functional departments operate in isolation with authority, responsibility and accountability deeply embedded into vertical functional departments (Steyn and Schmikl: 63).
In order to motivate employees it is important that a positive perception is created about the leadership of the organisation. Top management must provide support, trust, cohesion, autonomy and room for innovation to employees. Good policies and procedures must be in place to guide the work efforts of employees. Authority, responsibility and accountability must be well defined and clear (Steyn and Schmikl: 58). This was not evident in the case study.
5.OPERATIONAL STRATEGY CHALLENGES
In the oil industry, environmental factors have an influence on the operations strategy. The oil, gas and chemicals industry is highly competitive. Price pressure has a direct influence on business and profitability. This can only be achieved through scale economies, avoiding duplications, low overheads and keeping up with technology. The lines of communication must be very short and decisions making must be decentralized as to enhance fast moving. Business becomes global and companies tend to explore opportunities throughout the world by means of a selection process.
Shell did not restructure like all the other major oil companies in the 1990s. Its operations strategy were lacking due to the fact that they assumed that their decentralized structure allowed for gradual adaptation and not a sudden restructuring. According to Grant (2002: Online) the dispersal of their top management prevented large scale organizational change within the organisation. Events such as the Gulf war or drop in oil prices created opportunities for Shell to change their organisation. Connor (1992) explained that “Effective leaders manage at the speed of change”. Instead of change, Shell persisted in their ways. This is already a form of “resistance to change”.
In 1995 Shell could never use its shares to acquire another company as shares did not exist. This resulted in them losing market share (Lynch: 466). The decisions on capital expenditure were decidedly odd. The national companies were legal entities and demanded a share of the capital budget, regardless of whether they could make the best strategic case. The committee of managing directors had limited powers to resist such demands. Shell realized soon enough that their cost of capital exceeded their return on investment. Their top heavy administrative structure did not make them competitive. Return on capital was stuck below 10 percent and was going down. They seriously lacked where financial control and performance management cost them dearly as they were not able to implement cost reduction and shareholder return. All the other major oil companies moved towards global business divisions whereas Shell had a predominantly geographical structure (Lynch: 466-468).
The reorganization implemented in 1995/6 did not enhance their operations strategy as Shell Oil of the US was still outside the main organisational structure of the bigger Shell group.
In 1998 the oil prices fell and Shell had to look closer at cutting costs. Drastic change was required in 1998. By 1998/99 Shell announced a new drastic strategy which included amongst others: closure of its national company headquarters in the UK, Germany, France and the Netherlands, write-off of US$4,5 billion assets, sale of underperforming subsidiaries (40% of its chemical business), cutback on annual capital investment from US$15 billion to US$11 billion per annum, substantial acquisitions made earlier in the 1990s around the world were put on sale, chairman of the committee of managing directors would be able to take final decisions on capital expenditure (Expected him to over time emerge as CEO). They were anticipating a projected savings of 2,5billion US$ per year (2001) and would finally achieve executive accountability.
Once more Shell did not introduce proper change management which set them up for failure. They had not yet conformed to a learning organisation that adapted to the changing environment, managed by transformational leaders.
The Chairman of the committee predicted that Shell would be able to withstand further falls in the price of oil, even if it drops below US$10 per barrel. Shell was driven to find its own oil instead of buying. However in the period 1996 until 1999 the group invested only US$6bn exploring for new oil and gas deposits instead of US$8. They were regarded as stubborn as their own production was going down from 2.3m to 2.2m barrels per day in the period 1997-2001.
Organisational decline will be imminent when a lack of leadership and efficient management practices are present within an organisation (Steyn and Schmikl: 76). The following warning signs were present at Shell: lack of clear goals and properly formulated objectives, excess personnel, cumbersome administrative processes, fear of conflict and embarrassment (e.g. overstating of oil reserves), breakdown of trust in general (Chief Financial Officer/CFO), culture of denial and blame (CFO) which resulted in scapegoating, loss of motivation (employees were demoralized) and greed.
In 2002 Sir Phillip Watts were warned that the company was overstating its oil and gas reserves in its annual accounts, this affected the overall valuation of the company. The decreased internal control implemented in 1998 unfortunately opened the way for manipulation of data as was evident in 2004 when the over stating of oil reserves became known.
Investors were only told in 2004 that the company was overstating its oil and gas reserves in its annual accounts. This proofs a serious lack of transparency from the top management of Shell. The Company’s Chairman (Sir Phillip Watts) resigned and the Head of exploration and production (Walter Van de Vijver) were forced out of the company. The CFO (Judy Boynton) lost her job because she was not effective in her compliance function. She was responsible to satisfy herself with the posting of reserves and compliance with the relevant financial statutes. This resulted in the major investigation by the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) as previously discussed. Shell was forced to cut proven oil and gas reserves by 23%.
The negative organizational climate was evident in the way that the top management played the blaming game. Walter Van de Vijver accused the CEO of being “aggressive” or “premature” in the recording of new oil reserves at the company (Lynch:468).
Shell in general failed to adhere to the principles of TQM as their business degenerated over time; they lost competitiveness and were totally ineffective and inefficient. They failed to engage in continuous upgrading of human talent, processes, infrastructure, technology and systems (Steyn and Schmikl: 192).
The following is recommended:
1.Shell must move away from bureaucracy, and structure the organisation to become a learning organisation where flow of information and managerial decision making is agile and on point.
2.Leaders drives change (Steyn and Schmikl: 5). Shell must achieve acumen and excellence within their organisation by introducing an effective learning and growth strategy. In order to achieve superior performance, leadership education and development at all levels of the organisation must be implemented (Steyn and Schmikl: 10). Regeneration is the execution of transformation and change according to Steyn and Schmikl (2016).
3.The changing macro-economic cycles requires internal change management strategies that are driven by transformation. Leaders must have proper knowledge about human behavior and in the process create supportive organisational structures driven by a clear organizational development strategy (Steyn and Schmickl: 5). According to Wallace (2009), “organisations might never have the time to settle down before the next re-shaping, and a good change objective might be to achieve a culture where change is welcomed and encouraged”.
4.Shell should implement transformation within their organisation by utilizing the Harvey and Brown model (2001) across the three strategic dimensions which are:
a.Change in attitude and behavior through vision, mission and value systems.
b.Organisational Structure change to address competition and relationship requirements.
c.Create new processes by means of Operations and business systems.
5.Shell must implement systems thinking by adopting the Balance Scorecard created by Kaplan and Norton (2001), as a component of their quality management system (Steyn and Schmikl l: 9). This will ensure that their performance can be measured and will result in continuous improvement. They can also create a continuous improvement project office in the structure of the learning organisation (Steyn and Schmikl l: 9). The BS links an organisations long-term strategy with short-term actions and addresses Financial Perspective, Customer Perspective, Learning and Growth Perspective and Internal Processes Perspective (Steyn and Schmikl:162).
6.Shell must strive for continuous improvement. This can be achieved by applying the total quality management (TQM) philosophy. TQM comprises of having a customer focus, involving and empowering team members, systems thinking and continuous improvement. This will result in improved organizational performance. This requires deep behavioral and attitude change and can take several years. This is achieved by strong leadership and a good structural change strategy (Steyn and Schmikl: 69).
7.They must sharpen the saw as described by Covey (1989) which implies that they will create a sustainable, long-term effective lifestyle. Covey preaches learn, commit and do in order to grow and develop the “upward spiral.”
8.Companies such as Shell must adopt a strategy that focus on their core business in order to remain competitive. They then partner with other organisations and create a virtual network of partner organisations. This will ensure that they will achieve economic advantages, and will also stimulate the general economy with job creation and economic growth.
9.Shell should create a separate budget for strategic transformation and innovative change projects. This is called a “strategic budget” by Kaplan and Norton (2001). This budget is separate from the operational budget and will be utilised to implement strategic organizational transformation and innovative change (Steyn and Schmicl: 65).
10.Gray (2011) emphasized that governance is a very difficult task for any manager to face and it must be conducted properly or otherwise it can quickly “spin out of control”. It is there for important that governance must include protocols for change management. Shell must set up a good change management tracking system to manage the process and avoid managerial interference.
11.Shell must manage the implementation of their strategy by translating the vision, secondly they must communicate their strategy to all levels of the organisation and link it to business-units, departmental and individual objectives, thirdly they must integrate their business and financial plans and lastly they must get feedback and learn from that (Kaplan and Norton: 2001).
12.Shell must constantly monitor the internal and external forces for change that might influence them as an oil company. This includes politics, economics, socio-cultural, technological, ecological and legal (Steyn and Schmikl: 174). This will ensure organizational learning and change and create a culture of continuous improvement.
13.Executives of Shell must become the role models to create a culture of trustworthy supportiveness throughout the organisation (Steyn and Schmikl: 183). They must move away from scapegoating and unethical behavior. This will enhance morale within the organisation and encourage employees to innovative and show initiative.
14.Shell can adapt a programme approach to manage their enterprise value chain. They can utilise this approach to monitor their virtual partners and identify potential risks, opportunities and innovations (Steyn and Schmikl: 208). The programme structures of the different portfolios within Shell must operate in synergy. All activities must be coordinated, integrated and collaborated with that of other portfolios. The entire value chain must be supported by a culture of learning (Steyn and Schmikl: 212).
15.The management of change must be properly considered and well planned. The approach of Lewin: unfreeze, change and re-freeze (Lewin: 1997), can be utilised to manage change effectively (Steyn and Schmikl: 215-221). According to Lynch (2015) there are two ways of dealing with organizational change: slow or fast. Both have their benefits and the way to go should be considered carefully as significant resistance can be encountered when fast change is implemented.
Unfreeze Change Re-freeze
Aim Create motivation for change. Involves learning, provides employees with new information and behavior models and new ways of operating. Stabilization. Integrate change into everyday way of doing things.
Tools Encouragement to replace old behaviors and attitudes with those desired by leadership. Role models, mentors, experts, benchmarking, results, training Give employees opportunity to exhibit the new behavior or attitude. Use additional coaching and remodeling if required.
Achieve Reducing the forces that are striving to make status quo. Developing new behaviors values and attitudes. Introducing of new systems and procedures.
It can be concluded that even though minor progress was made within the Shell group during the 1990s to improve global coordination and financial control, they were shamed in 2004 for overbooking of proven oil reserves. The general opinion was that the dual board of directors and joint venture weakened transparency and accountability. In 2005 these two companies (Royal Dutch/Shell) finally merged (Grant).
In order to be competitive in the 4th Industrial Revolution, Shell must implement the recommendations of this case study.
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