Productive resistance within the public sector: exploring organisational culture

Sunghee Park, Neil Lunt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The article examines how South Korean civil servants responded to the introduction of pay for performance. Drawing upon 31 in-depth interviews with career civil servants, it identifies what became known as 1/n, a form of ‘discreet resistance’ that emerged and evolved. The analytical framework allows productive resistance to be seen as ebbing and flowing during organisational change that sees institutionalisation, deinstitutionalisation and re-institutionalisation.

In understanding the cultural context of organisational resistance the contribution is three-fold. First, a nuanced definition and understanding of productive resistance. Second, it argues that productive resistance must be seen as part of a process that does not simply reflect ‘offer and counter-offer’ within the change management process. Thirdly, it identifies differences within groups and sub-cultures concerning commitment towards resistance and how these fissures contribute towards change as new interpretive schemes and justifications are presented in light of policy reformulations.
Original languageEnglish
JournalPublic Organization Review
Early online date1 Feb 2017
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 1 Feb 2017

Bibliographical note

© The Author(s) 2017

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