Asset Management Reform Through Policies, Regulations, and Standards: The Need for ‘Soft’ Interface

Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Mechanical Engineering book series (LNME)

Abstract

Asset management practices within a country or a region are under continuous reform, particularly with the introduction of new ‘hard controls’—rules, law, regulations, and policies, in various sectors. They are expected to provide the necessary foundation for safety, efficiency and other performance needs as well as the frame conditions for managing assets. To a certain extent they also reflect the expectations of international standards. Despite the availability of abundance of documents, organizations tend to spend much time in reality, for instance on analysing the minute detail of policy and regulation, to ensure the compliance as well as validity in terms of expected results. In the modern roles of technical and operational managers, the efforts involving compliance has become a daunting task due to various conditions and complexities in organizational environments. This sheds the light right on the asset reformation process, particularly in terms of feasibility and adoptability Empirical research of 76 regional government officers, acting as state asset managers, in twelve Indonesian provinces and district governments confirmed this standpoint. It was found that despite the availability of comprehensive set of laws, regulations, and technical guidelines; there is a high level of uncertainty, ambiguity, inconsistency, and ultimately non-compliance in asset management practice in these regional governments. It seems that there are other types of absorbed/embedded complexities that tend to remain implicit in the nature of transforming systems, and thus far has been difficult to interpret due to lack of knowledge or understanding of these hidden interfaces that asset managers may have inherit. For instance, a closer analysis of regional government officers reveals other variables in play: ingrained asset management culture, political history of government, religion, and the capability of the asset manager itself; all of which impact the level in which changes in the system are received, interpreted, processed, and implemented. What this suggests is that there may have been too much focus on perfectly ‘mechanising a hard control’ through policies, regulations, and standards. This implies little or no focus on core attributes of the system in which implementation takes place, and even more on addressing the needs of those who bear major stakes during as well as after implementation process. Thus, this paper argues that acknowledgement and development of ‘softer’ measures and instruments are just as important, if not even more so, as ‘hard controlled’ approach to realize the best benefit of ongoing reforms in Asset management practices.

Keywords

Asset management policy Soft control Asset reform Compliance Systems approach Resilience Adaptive change 

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Law and Justice Research CentreQUTBrisbaneAustralia
  2. 2.Centre for Industrial Asset ManagementUniversity of StavangerStavangerNorway

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