Research Findings on Program Failure and Success (Part 1)
Over the next three weeks I would like to present findings from a study I’m making on how to implement and sustain an effective program. This information should have significant implications for those of us who want to build sustainable men’s discipleship programs.
This week we will look at the statistics on program failure rates….scary.
Next week our topic will be, “Why do programs fail or succeed?”
Week after next our topic will be, “What will it take to sustain a men’s discipleship ministry program?”
THE BIG IDEA: It is safe to say that only about one-third of organizational change initiatives survive beyond initial implementation regardless of sector, whether public, private, for profit, non-profit, business, government, education, or health care. Two-thirds of change initiatives fail.
Here is the research I’ve found so far on organizational change failure rates (reference list at end)….
- Two-thirds of Total Quality Management (TQM) programs fail, and reengineering initiatives fail 70% of the time (Senge, 1999, pp. 5-6).
- Implementation of top-down organizational change programs has a poor record of success (Beer, 2003, p. 626).
- A seminal study found a 64% failure rate among new technological innovations introduced into municipal public service programs (Yin, 1978, p. vi).
- A decision to adopt an innovation does not automatically lead to implementation (Rogers, 1995, p. 371).
- Change initiatives crucial to organizational success fail 70% of the time (Miller, 2002, p. 360).
- Major corporate investments in technology are not used as intended or abandoned within six months 80% of the time (Gartner Group in Miller, 2002, p. 360).
- Of 100 companies that attempted to make fundamental changes in the way they did business, only a few were very successful (Kotter, 1995, p. 59).
- Leaders of the corporate reengineering movement report that the success rate for Fortune 1000 companies is below 50%, possibly only 20% (Strebel, 2000, p. 86).
- Companies that successfully implement a strategic plan are a minority, with estimates ranging from 10% to 30% (Raps, 2004, p. 49).
- Implementation of innovations have historically had a high failure rate (Majchrzak in Linton, 2001, p. 65).
- Management history is littered with failed innovation programs (e.g., TQM, quality circles, Re-engineering, and job enrichment) that started with a bang but fizzled out. (Repenning, 2002, p. 109).
- Virtually all new federally-funded educational programs failed to reach sustainability (Berman & McLaughlin in Yin, 1978, p. 44).
- Most organizational change programs fail or have limited success because they are guided by an erroneous theory about how to bring about change. Most begin with a bang, but go out with a whimper (Argyris, 1990, p. 4; Beer, Eisenstat, & Spector, 1990a, 1990b).
- Little is known about how to sustain a public health program (Pluye, Potvin, & Denis, 2004, p. 121).
Together in the Battle for Men’s Souls,
Argyris, C. (1990). Overcoming organizational defenses. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.
Beer, M. (2003). Why total quality management programs do not persist: the role of management quality and implications for leading a TQM transformation. Decision Sciences, 34(4), 623-642.
Beer, M., Eisenstat, R. A., & Spector, B. (1990a). Why change programs don’t produce change. Harvard Business Review, 68(6), 158-166.
Beer, M., Eisenstat, R. A., & Spector, B. (1990b). The critical path to corporate renewal. Cambridge: Harvard Business School Press.
Kotter, J. P. (1995). Leading change: why transformation efforts fail. Harvard Business Review, 73(2), 59-67.
Linton, J. D. (2002). Implementation research: state of the art and future directions. Technovation, 22(2), 65-79.
Miller, D. (2002). Successful change leaders: what makes them? what do they do that is different?, Journal of Change Management, 2(4), 359-368.
Pluye, P., Potvin, L., & Denis, J.-L. (2004). Making public health programs last: conceptualizing sustainability. Evaluation & Program Planning, 27(2), 121-133.
Raps, A. (2004). implementing strategy. Strategic Finance, 85(12), 49-53.
Repenning, N. P. (2002). A simulation-based approach to understanding the dynamics of innovation implementation. Organization Science: A Journal of the Institute of Management Sciences, 13(2), 109-127.
Rogers, E. M. (1995). Diffusion of innovations (4th ed.). New York: The Free Press.
Senge, P. (1999). The dance of change. New York: Currency Doubleday.
Strebel, P. (1996). Why Do Employees Resist Change? Harvard Business Review, 74(3), 86-92.
Yin, R. K. (1978). Changing urban bureaucracies: how new practices become routinized. Santa Monica: The Rand Corporation.