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How was Richard Haldane able to reform the British Army? An historical assessment using a contemporary change management model

By Simon Giles Higgens


Using a contemporary change management model as the analytical framework, this dissertation examines how Richard Burdon Haldane, the Liberal Imperialist Secretary of State for War (1905-1912), implemented lasting reform of the British Army, when his immediate predecessors, Brodrick and Arnold-Forster, had failed. It considers how political expediency, foreign policy and military strategy influenced Haldane and why his nation in arms concept did not improve the public’s perception of the regular and auxiliary forces. The dissertation concludes that Haldane understood the intellectual complexities of institutional change and that lasting reform required the technical and social dimensions of it to be addressed simultaneously and as an organic whole. His understanding of Hegelian philosophy provided him with a means of synthesising numerous ideas into a viable solution and his intellectual, social and political skills provided him with the tools to implement it. Coupled with a long tenure in office and the support of first-class military advisors, who included Major General Haig and Colonel Ellison, Haldane’s success was not, as he claimed, that he entered office without preconceived ideas about army reform, but that he did not announce them. By doing so, he gained the support of the reform-weary Generals in the War Office

Topics: DA Great Britain
Year: 2011
OAI identifier:

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