Managing from the inside out: drawing on 'receptivity' to explain variation in strategy implementation

Michael J.R. Butler*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


With the rise of 'New Public Management' (NPM), government policy has encouraged public-sector organizations to downsize and outsource their services. There is, however, local variation in the use of outsourcing - this is 'managing from the inside out'. This paper draws on the notion of receptivity for organizational change to explain variation in strategy implementation. Four receptivity factors are identified which seem to explain the success of two contrasting English local government outsourcing strategies: ideological vision, leading change, institutional politics and implementation capacity. The organization level of change is interconnected with two other levels of change (the public service and environment levels) to illustrate the dynamic nature of change.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)S47-S60
Number of pages14
JournalBritish Journal of Management
Issue numberS1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2003


  • New Public Management
  • government policy
  • public-sector organizations
  • downsize
  • outsource
  • services
  • English local government
  • outsourcing strategies
  • ideological vision
  • leading change
  • institutional politics
  • implementation capacity


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