Employees' witnessed presence in changing organisation

Mendy, John (2012) Employees' witnessed presence in changing organisation. AI and Society, 27 (1). pp. 149-156. ISSN 0951-5666

Full content URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00146-011-0324-8

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Item Type:Article
Item Status:Live Archive

Abstract

In recent years, governments, businesses and other organisations have increasingly been forced to attempt to survive by reorganising themselves fundamentally. Although this happens at present on a large scale, it is not unprecedented. In fact, most organisations have had to change their working practises at some time for some reason-for example, when the competition catches up or when technology threatens to make production obsolete. The usual strategy is to fire part of the staff and to redistribute tasks. This tends to put a heavy burden on staff. They have to search for other jobs or attempt re-skilling. Those remaining may face substantial changes in their relations to their managers, who will require changes... 'or else'. The study reported in the paper focuses on people's reactions to this approach. Some employees accept and leave. Others become aware of an opportunity to damage their company. Others again see a way to resist and change the way the managers behave and thereby turn around the company and maintain or increase the number of jobs. The study focuses on two questions. The first is how one should model or describe the behaviour of people in the third category, i. e. those wishing to contribute. It does not seem useful to follow one's first hunch, i. e. to search for quantifiable patterns. People's behaviour will always be contextualised as a reaction to what managers do. This suggests the use of qualitative methods. The second question is whether the concept of presence may clarify the behaviour and identify ways for employees to contribute positively to changes in their organisations. An obstacle to answering the second question is that qualitative methods focus on people's experiences in some context, and on the emergence of their behaviour, but do not necessarily lead to suggestions on how to behave with what effect. It is attempted to answer the second question and thereby the first question with the aim of identifying what people may do who are not immediately fired or made redundant when fundamental organisational changes are introduced. Data have been collected from four companies that decided to initiate such changes in 2003-2004. © 2011 Springer-Verlag London Limited.

Additional Information:Special issue: Witnessed presence
Keywords:Presence, Actor-presence, Increasing presence, Witnessing
Subjects:N Business and Administrative studies > N100 Business studies
Divisions:Lincoln International Business School
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ID Code:22079
Deposited On:16 Aug 2016 13:16

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