Using innovation and business models to analyse the organisational embedding of travel plans

Roby, Helen (2010). Using innovation and business models to analyse the organisational embedding of travel plans. PhD thesis The Open University.



Workplace travel planning began in the UK in the early 1990s. With over ten years of experience in travel plans in the UK, this thesis demonstrates how they have developed, matured and the extent to which they have become embedded into the organisations working practices as a business management tool.

This work is distinct from previous research, as it concentrates on the business perspective of travel plans, through a series of in depth interviews within organisations. These interviews were analysed using innovation and business models, such as elements of Rogers� (2003) Diffusion of Innovations and Mintzberg's (1983) Structure in Fives, Designing Effective Organisations, to explore the impact of the characteristics and structure of an organisation on the embedding of a travel plan.

This thesis identified factors that have helped to organisationally embed travel plans. A key finding was to show that the motivations for a travel plan change as it matures, from those of external regulation through the planning process, to internal goals such as corporate responsibility and the environment, business growth and human resources issues. This research has shown the importance of linking travel plans to these organisational goals in the embedding process. However, successful embedding is not easy. A travel plan can either remain siloed within an estates function or become so widely dispersed that the benefits are poorly visible. In either case the travel plan runs the risk of being marginalised or lost. The research has also shown that this process of embedding is reliant on the adaptation of the travel plan to match the culture and working practices within an organisation, and that this process of adaptation can be dependent on the position of the travel planner within a strategic area of the organisation.

It is concluded that travel planning policy is too focussed on the early stages of adoption and not enough on growing and maturing travel plans, with the result that they are too narrow, and unlikely to yield the business benefits that will secure their long term future.

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