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An Exploratory Investigation into Change Management in a Privatised Irish Organisation

Kenny, Níamh (2012) An Exploratory Investigation into Change Management in a Privatised Irish Organisation. Masters thesis, Dublin, National College of Ireland.

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The focus of this research is in the area of organisational change management. Change management poses significant challenges for organisations throughout the lifetime of the company but particularly in today’s perplexing economic environment. With turbulent economic conditions, weakened consumer expenditure, a competitive marketplace and the speed of technological changes, organisations must consistently adapt to constant changes to remain relevant and competitive.

In order for change to be effective, change must be managed appropriately within the organisation. An organisation can face employee resistance to change, which may result in a failure of the particular change initiative. A review of the literature on change management reveals that change creates feelings of uncertainty, frustration, alienation and anxiety (Ashford, 1998), therefore it is important for organisations to understand employees’ perceptions regarding the change before proceeding. It is also agreed that employees must be committed to the organisation in order to reduce resistance to change. This research investigates employee’s attitudes towards change, employee commitment and readiness for change.

In particular, this mixed method study, investigates change management within the eircom group, a privatised Irish organisation within the Telecommunications sector. The organisation at the time of writing has recently emerged from examinership, however, due to the large amount of remaining debt the organisation is undergoing numerous change initiatives and this research will use the ‘eircom recovery plan’, a change initiative implemented by the organisation in order to achieve cost reductions and modernisation of the organisation, as a basis of which to relate this research.

The study assessed the levels of commitment within the organisation, attitudes towards organisational change and employee readiness or resistance to change among a sample population of employees and management within the organisation. This was done through the use of primary research which included semi-structured interviews with management, an online survey questionnaire distributed to 295 employees and a focus group session held with a sample of employees.

The results were that, broadly speaking there is a moderate level of commitment to change within the organisation, particularly continuance commitment, whereby employees feel they should stay with the organisation because they ‘have to’. Employees feel a sense of belonging within the organisation and due to the high tenure within the organisation, employees feel almost like being part of a wider family. This commitment transfers across to a commitment to organisational change initiatives’ and employees within the organisation have become accustomed to change due to the nature of the organisation and the numerous changes that have occurred within the organisation over the years. Employees are aware of the urgency for change at the present time, which has led to an understanding of the need to change, more so than a willingness to change. Employee attitudes towards change are generally positive with some misgivings in relation to organisational justice and trust and the process and involvement of employees in the implementation of change. Communication of organisational change was found to be agreeable with management and employees agreeing that they are satisfied with top management and are very happy with the quality and process of change communication.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > HD28 Management. Industrial Management > Management of Change
Divisions: School of Business > Master of Arts in Human Resource Management
Depositing User: Caoimhe Ní Mhaicín
Date Deposited: 18 May 2013 12:42
Last Modified: 11 Jun 2013 17:27

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