White, Susan Adrienne (2017) Inter-Sector Transitions: An Exploration of the Experiences of Senior Executives and Managers who Transitioned between the Public, Private, Third and Academic Sectors. Doctoral thesis, University of Huddersfield.

This research explores the experiences and perceptions of senior executives and managers who have made one or more transitions between the public, private, academic and third sectors in the UK. The personal experience of inter-sector transition is an under-researched phenomenon, particularly in the UK. This interpretative qualitative study aims to enhance understanding of inter-sector transition and to identify the challenges and enablers of a successful transition.

The context for this research is the increased blurring between the organisational sectors, as many parts of the public sector decline in size, the role of the private and third sectors in service delivery become more significant, and hybrid partnerships increase. The influence of New Public Management, which has introduced private sector practices into the public, academic and third sectors is also a factor in potentially reducing the difference between the sectors. In the researcher’s work environment, recruitment of personnel from outside the academic sector is increasing. The professional implications for the study are to understand the factors which enable a smooth and successful transition, in order that individuals achieve job satisfaction and that the organisation benefits from their productivity as soon as possible.

The study adopts a qualitative methodology, drawing on grounded theory methods for the collection and analysis of data. Fifteen managers and senior executives from a range of professions and sectors participated in in-depth interviews. The findings suggest that enablers of a successful transition are familiarity with the destination sector prior to transitioning, work values which align with those of the destination organisation, appropriate professional skills, and mentoring support. The main challenges to a successful transition are organisational cultures, the questioning of professional identity and issues of self-esteem. In addition to enhancing the understanding of transition enablers and challenges, the contribution to professional practice is demonstrated through practical guidelines for line managers, which will assist with inductions of new starters from outside the sector. The key limitations of the research are identified as being the size and characteristics of the sample, together with the lack of triangulation from participants’ managers or reports concerning the success of the transition. Recommendations for future research are to broaden the sample so that particular characteristics may be explored in more detail, such as age, gender and professional background. There is also scope for further research into the leadership characteristics which lend themselves to successful inter-sector transitions.

FINAL THESIS - SUE WHITE .pdf - Accepted Version
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