For over three decades public services have been the subject of unprecedented change. Nowhere has this been more evident than in the English National Health Service (NHS) where despite the effort expended on change there is growing evidence that such restructuring is largely ineffective. Drawing on a study of culture modification in the English NHS, this paper utilizes Chia's (1999) account of the metaphysics of processual change to consider why attempts to restructure public services are not always successful. The paper contributes to our understanding of public management reform by considering how an ontology of becoming, and a loosening of control, might alter how we approach reforming. Further, the paper offers a theoretical justification for the use of standard research methods for novel processual ends. The paper concludes with a reflection on the implications of a processual perspective for the future management, organization and study of change in public administration.