A New Theory for Improving Stakeholder Value from Strategic Change Programmes
: From wishful thinking to causal certainty

  • Roger H Davies

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy (PhD)


This research addresses the critical and urgent imperative to create value from transformational change programmes which is economically viable, ecologically sustainable and equitable across stakeholders in a world of increasingly finite resources. Three essential prerequisites are needed to realise intentional value from change: effective strategy, efficient execution and coherent linkage between them to ensure that the right things are done the right way. However, widespread failure of programmes to deliver stakeholder value is evidenced. Rather than inadequate methods and techniques, it is argued that patterns of flawed causal thinking and behaviour operating at a Meta level account for the failure. The patterns map to fractured interfaces between change programme disciplines. It is proposed that these flaws can be corrected by applying a simple, precise and rigorous approach centred on value and grounded in causality. A new value theory is proposed comprising principles which map to failure patterns, supported by a learning-centric framework. The research draws together convergent findings from experiential learning, literature research, subject expert interviews and rapid prototyping using dynamic simulation. The approach is developed and validated through case studies under a Critical Realism philosophical foundation. There exists an opportunity to affect a shift towards sustainable, equitable growth which creates a flourishing society, by harnessing technological breakthroughs deployed effectively using advances across neuroscience and learning. It is proposed that Value Productivity, which combines efficiency and effectiveness to integrate economy with prosperous wellbeing, provides a basis to realise this potential and can be implemented through the Value Management approach developed in this research.
Date of Award23 Mar 2021
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Bristol
SupervisorColin Anthony Taylor (Supervisor) & Neil J Carhart (Supervisor)


  • programme management
  • systems thinking
  • simulation modelling
  • strategic change
  • Learning Organisation
  • Management & business studies

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