Employee perceptions of organizational change: Impact of hierarchical level

Jones, Liz, Watson, Bernadette, Hobman, Elizabeth, Bordia, Prashant, Gallois, Cindy and Callan, Victor J. (2008) Employee perceptions of organizational change: Impact of hierarchical level. Leadership and Organization Development Journal, 29 4: 294-316. doi:10.1108/01437730810876122

Author Jones, Liz
Watson, Bernadette
Hobman, Elizabeth
Bordia, Prashant
Gallois, Cindy
Callan, Victor J.
Title Employee perceptions of organizational change: Impact of hierarchical level
Journal name Leadership and Organization Development Journal   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0143-7739
Publication date 2008
Year available 2008
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1108/01437730810876122
Volume 29
Issue 4
Start page 294
End page 316
Total pages 23
Editor Marie McHugh
Place of publication United Kingdom
Publisher Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Collection year 2009
Language eng
Subject C1
170107 Industrial and Organisational Psychology
950299 Communication not elsewhere classified
Formatted abstract
Purpose –
The purpose of this paper is to examine the influence of organizational level on employees' perceptions and reactions to a complex organizational change involving proposed work force redesign, downsizing and a physical move to a new hospital.

Design/methodology/approach –

Participants included executives, supervisory and non-supervisory staff in a major tertiary hospital. Recorded in-depth interviews were conducted with 61 employees about the positive and negative aspects of the change.

Findings –

A total of 12 themes were identified from content coding, including emotional responses and attitudes toward the change, issues about the management of the change process and about change outcomes. Supervisory and non-supervisory staff referred more to conflict and divisions, and expressed more negative attitudes toward the change, than did executives. Executives and supervisory staff focused more on planning challenges and potential outcomes of the change than did non-supervisory staff. Finally, compared to other staff, executives focused more on participation in the change process and communication about the change process.

Research limitations/implications –
This study examines the organizational change at only one time point in one organization. Perceptions of the change may change over time, and other identities like professional identity may influence perceptions.

Practical implications –
These findings suggest that change agents should consider the needs of different organizational groups in order to achieve effective and successful organizational change.

Originality/value –
This study clearly shows the impact of organizational level, identifying similarities and differences in perceptions of change across level.

Keyword Organizational change
Orgnizational planning
Change management
Employee behaviour
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code

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Created: Fri, 27 Jun 2008, 10:43:24 EST by Karen Morgan on behalf of School of Psychology