Public administration bodies are under increasing economic pressure: triggered by the state's acute financial crisis, a comprehensive process of modernisation has become inevitable. The aim is to achieve more with less money. Public administration has already begun to tackle this challenge in many places: from the introduction of cost accounting and merging individual areas to the foundation of new ‘brands' on local or regional levels. These structural changes tend to be planned and implemented through external consultancies - like on the free market.
Nevertheless, changes in public administration bodies need more than just structural modification to succeed. It is equally important to justify the importance of these changes to management staff and employees, whilst involving and mobilising them in the process. This requires communication experts who know how to act in such situations and to guide the entity through the change. Especially in the area of public administration, staff members have often been employed for many years or even decades. Accordingly, a strong identity is present in public administration bodies. In the midst of restructuring processes, which sometimes lead to a new name and logo, the old and familiar identity is lost. Suddenly, what is demanded is something that has, until now, seldom been expected of public administration staff: flexibility and openness to change. In these processes, ‘nice' campaigns that fail to explain anything and hardly improve motivation - such as handing out trendy T-shirts sporting the new logo - prove to be of little help and can even be counterproductive. Such campaigns give much more scope for speculation. Instead, it is fundamental to analyse the psychological factors related to the change and the creation of a new identity. This ensures that those immediately affected are involved from the very beginning. The issues related to restructuring processes are even more pronounced when it comes to mergers between departments or institutions. After all, this forces a confrontation between two or more different identities and cultures, which gradually need to unite.
Management staff is particularly affected by such change processes, since they have to rethink in a double sense. In public administration, management is still heavily defined and legitimatised based on the competence and knowledge of the manager in question. Now, other skills are expected of them. They will be forced to confront strategic questions, requiring them in turn to study their new role intensely and to be aware of the significance of communication as a strategic management tool. All too often, however, they are insufficiently prepared for this new role. As a result, experts are required at this point to guide them in their new position, accompanying them throughout the change process.