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Understanding employee attitudes to change in longitudinal perspective: A study in UK public services 1996-2007

Stephen John Procter (Newcastle University Business School, University of Newcastle, Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom)
Julian Adrian Randall (University of Aberdeen Business School, University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen, United Kingdom)

Qualitative Research in Organizations and Management

ISSN: 1746-5648

Article publication date: 9 March 2015

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is twofold: to understand how and why employee attitudes to change might change over time; and to demonstrate what type of research might best capture this change.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper brings together three studies of the same organization, conducted at different times by the same researchers.

Findings

Employee attitudes to change in the three episodes are portrayed in terms of the assumptions that seem to underpin them. The first episode is characterized by a challenge to the basic assumptions employees have about their work; the second, by a fragmentation of assumptions according to sub-group; and the third, by the confirmation of a new set of assumptions about what work involves.

Research limitations/implications

The paper concludes that fieldwork of a longitudinal nature is something quite rare, and its incorporation into research design needs to move beyond dealing with it through an uneasy combination of retrospection and extended organizational exposure.

Originality/value

The paper provides a rare and valuable account of how employee attitudes to change might change over time. The research design on which it is based, though fortuitous in nature, overcomes a number of the weaknesses of more conventional studies in this area.

Keywords

Citation

Procter, S.J. and Randall, J.A. (2015), "Understanding employee attitudes to change in longitudinal perspective: A study in UK public services 1996-2007 ", Qualitative Research in Organizations and Management, Vol. 10 No. 1, pp. 38-60. https://doi.org/10.1108/QROM-01-2013-1127

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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