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Article
Publication date: 1 July 2019

Roy K. Smollan and Rachel L. Morrison

The purpose of this paper is to compare different employee perceptions of the success of one change: a move to new offices and an open-plan design.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to compare different employee perceptions of the success of one change: a move to new offices and an open-plan design.

Design/methodology/approach

In sum, 25 interviews were carried out in a New Zealand law firm that six months earlier had moved to new premises.

Findings

Contrary to academic and practitioner reports that open-plan offices are disliked, participants appreciated the new office space. A well-planned and highly participative program of change management led to positive perceptions of aesthetic design, open communication, collegiality, egalitarianism and inclusiveness.

Research limitations/implications

Given the small sample used in one organization, the study highlights the need for more research into the processes and outcomes of office space changes.

Originality/value

The roles of communication and culture, in particular, collegiality and egalitarianism, were salient factors in a complex web of causes and consequences in this context of change.

Details

Journal of Organizational Change Management, vol. 32 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0953-4814

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 2 September 2019

Tim J. Pratt, Roy K. Smollan and Edwina Pio

This paper aims to explore the experiences of church ministers who played the role of transitional leaders in congregational situations involving conflict.

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to explore the experiences of church ministers who played the role of transitional leaders in congregational situations involving conflict.

Design/methodology/approach

Grounded theory was chosen as a suitable approach to investigate phenomena that occasionally penetrate religious publications and even less frequently scholarly management journals. Accordingly, in-depth interviews were conducted with six church ministers who had been transitional leaders in one Christian denomination in New Zealand.

Findings

Participants indicated that the drivers of transitional ministry were conflict, dysfunction and loss of direction; the goals were to heal the damage caused by conflict and restore functionality and well-being; the process, underpinned by a leadership philosophy of affirmation, trust-building, engagement and communication, involved working with church members to instil hope, establish operational structures, identify and resolve dysfunction, envision a future and ultimately recruit a permanent minister.

Research limitations/implications

The limitations of a small sample size in one Christian denomination could be addressed by using wider samples in other contexts. It is suggested that insights into transitional leadership after conflict will be of interest to researchers as well as practitioners in other religious organizations, the wider non-profit sector and the private sector. Future research into the impact of transitional leadership, against a background of conflict and organizational change, will add to this empirical foundation.

Originality/value

The model of transitional ministry is a unique contribution to religious literature and practice. It also offers insight into how other types of organization could deal with the exit of its permanent leader, in circumstances of conflict, and manage the transition phase of a temporary replacement, so that the organization returns to a state of well-being with a renewed sense of purpose.

Details

International Journal of Organizational Analysis, vol. 27 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1934-8835

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Article
Publication date: 13 April 2015

Roy K Smollan

Since prior empirical research has seldom compared causes of stress before, during and after organizational change the purpose of this paper is to identify stressors as…

Abstract

Purpose

Since prior empirical research has seldom compared causes of stress before, during and after organizational change the purpose of this paper is to identify stressors as change unfolded over time and to identify what led to variations in stress levels.

Design/methodology/approach

Semi-structured interviews were conducted in 2012 with 31 staff in clinical and non-clinical positions in a New Zealand public health organization that had experienced considerable change.

Findings

For most respondents the transition phase was the most stressful as it created job insecurity and was handled with insufficient information, consultation and support. For the balance stress increased after the change, which created additional demands that usually needed to be met with fewer resources. The stress of others emerged as a new category of stressor during the transition stage.

Research limitations/implications

Memories fade and the lines between stages of change are often blurred with one change sometimes occurring simultaneously with another or following it. Further studies could explore stressors at different points in time, in different national contexts and in private and public organizations.

Practical implications

Leaders of public sector organizations need to be mindful of the deleterious effects of stress from organizational change and create cultures, strategies and practices that mitigate the stress.

Originality/value

This is apparently the first qualitative study that traces the causes of stress as organizational change moves through various phases.

Details

Journal of Organizational Change Management, vol. 28 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0953-4814

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Book part
Publication date: 26 June 2012

Roy K. Smollan

Staff facing organizational change often experience negative emotions when they anticipate or encounter injustice and these can lead to turnover, absenteeism, decreased…

Abstract

Staff facing organizational change often experience negative emotions when they anticipate or encounter injustice and these can lead to turnover, absenteeism, decreased productivity and resistance to change. The aims of this study were to identify the nature of the emotions reported by respondents and explore how they were triggered by perceptions of different forms of injustice: distributive, procedural, interpersonal and informational. A series of interviews with those playing different roles in change initiatives, at various hierarchical levels and in a range of organizations, demonstrates the corrosive effects of perceived injustice and the attendant negative emotions such as anger, frustration, anxiety and guilt. These emotions tended to be more intense for those experiencing change and somewhat subdued for those leading and managing it. The findings contribute to research into organizational change by presenting insights into the affective elements of four types of injustice that have seldom been explored in previous qualitative studies.

Details

Experiencing and Managing Emotions in the Workplace
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78052-676-8

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Article
Publication date: 28 June 2013

Roy K. Smollan

The purpose of this paper is to explore what meanings organizational actors and researchers invest in the term trust, to provide insights from a qualitative perspective of…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore what meanings organizational actors and researchers invest in the term trust, to provide insights from a qualitative perspective of employees' trust in their supervisors and in organizational management when change occurs, and to highlight the affective components of trust in this context.

Design/methodology/approach

A social constructionist platform is used to explore how organizational actors form perceptions of the trustworthiness of managers of change and what emotions result. In total, 24 participants from different organizations and hierarchical positions were interviewed on a variety of change experiences.

Findings

Positive and negative emotions were related to trust in the ability, benevolence and integrity of immediate supervisors and more senior change managers. The emotions were more intense for distrust than for trust. Some participants referred to challenges to their own integrity. Perceptions of organizational justice during change were important contributors to the creation and erosion of trust in management.

Research limitations/implications

The relevance of propensity to trust and pre‐existing levels of trust were not investigated and researching these factors, particularly in longitudinal studies, will provide a clearer picture of emotional responses to the perceived trustworthiness of change managers. Exploring cross‐cultural issues in the trustworthiness of change leaders would add depth to the field.

Practical implications

Developing trust in management though transparency, other fair practices and a positive organizational culture will help to gain commitment to organizational change.

Originality/value

This study adds to the scant literature on qualitative investigations of trust, emotions and organizational change by presenting insights from an analysis of employees' trust in the ability, benevolence and integrity of their own supervisors and those of more senior management in a range of organizations and types of change.

Details

Journal of Organizational Change Management, vol. 26 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0953-4814

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Article
Publication date: 8 June 2015

Fay Giæver and Roy K. Smollan

There is a lack of qualitative longitudinal studies in the literature exploring the complexity and dynamism of affective experience during phases of organizational change…

Abstract

Purpose

There is a lack of qualitative longitudinal studies in the literature exploring the complexity and dynamism of affective experience during phases of organizational change. The purpose of this paper is to explore the nature and intensity of emotional reactions to change and the contextual triggers that made them vary.

Design/methodology/approach

In total, 11 nurses in a Norwegian public hospital were interviewed at three points in time about a change in technology, one month prior to implementation, three months after implementation and one year after implementation. They were asked to reflect “forwards” and “backwards” about their emotional experiences to the technical change in particular and to other changes occurring at work.

Findings

The informants reported mixed emotional experiences to change at all three interviews. Emotion terms such as “uncertainty”, “joy” and “resignation” were reported at all times, “anxiety and “excitement” were only reported at Times 1 and 2 whereas “frustration” and “cynicism” were only reported at Times 2 and 3.

Research limitations/implications

A larger group of informants would have produced greater insight into the evolving emotional change experiences. Further research could explore other contexts and a wider range of data collection methods.

Originality/value

This is a rare qualitative study of emotional change experiences where the informants were interviewed three times.

Details

Qualitative Research in Organizations and Management: An International Journal, vol. 10 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1746-5648

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 2 September 2014

Roy K. Smollan

Participants in organizational change use metaphors in discourse as a means of sense making, since they provide insight into ways of thinking and feeling about…

Abstract

Purpose

Participants in organizational change use metaphors in discourse as a means of sense making, since they provide insight into ways of thinking and feeling about organizational change that are not as easily or as graphically captured by more conventional language. Although change is often emotional the affective elements of metaphors of change have been under-studied. Thus the purpose of this paper is to examine the emotional content of metaphors that participants use to describe their experiences in various change contexts.

Design/methodology/approach

In total, 24 people in different industries, organizations, functional departments and hierarchical levels were interviewed on their experiences of change and their affective reactions. Evidence was sought of the use of metaphors to portray emotional responses.

Findings

Participants used many metaphors of which the most prevalent were those relating to the rollercoaster and grief cycle. Other categories emerged from the meanings that underlay the metaphors and revealed a spectrum of emotions experienced during change.

Research limitations/implications

As figures of speech it is axiomatic that metaphors cannot be taken literally. Further research needs to discover what actors believe their metaphors mean and to take account of cultural differences.

Practical implications

Exploring the emotional meanings embedded in metaphors used by change actors will enable managers to create effective messages and to understand others’ responses to change.

Originality/value

Since most empirical articles on affective metaphors of change investigate single organizations or industries, this paper contributes to the literature by reporting on change experiences in different organizational contexts and by identifying categories of metaphorical expressions.

Details

Journal of Managerial Psychology, vol. 29 no. 7
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0268-3946

Keywords

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Book part
Publication date: 8 July 2010

Roy K. Smollan, Jonathan A. Matheny and Janet G. Sayers

Published studies of the relationships between personality, affect, and organizational change have been overwhelmingly quantitative, while clinical and psychodynamic…

Abstract

Published studies of the relationships between personality, affect, and organizational change have been overwhelmingly quantitative, while clinical and psychodynamic approaches have seldom dealt with the context of organizational change. We used semistructured interviews to explore the “middle ground”, by researching how participants in change believed aspects of their personalities contributed to their responses, particularly on an affective level. We found that traits such as openness to experience, resilience, pragmatism, change self-efficacy, and locus of control influenced participants' perceptions of how they reacted to organizational change. The findings point to the important role that qualitative research into personality can play in improving understanding of emotional responses to organizational change.

Details

Emotions and Organizational Dynamism
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-0-85724-177-1

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Book part
Publication date: 26 September 2005

Jonathan A. Matheny and Roy K. Smollan

This chapter addresses the confluence of emotions, justice, and organizational change. Drawing on these three literatures, the chapter provides empirical analysis of over…

Abstract

This chapter addresses the confluence of emotions, justice, and organizational change. Drawing on these three literatures, the chapter provides empirical analysis of over 100 separate organizational change events. The findings confirm previous research regarding patterns among emotions and demonstrate these patterns apply in the specific context of change. The findings also suggest that the degree of clarity one has when considering a change event matches the degree of intensity with which one experiences emotion. Finally, the findings suggest that even nominal change events are associated with intense experience of emotions. The chapter links these findings to several suggestions for further research.

Details

The Effect of Affect in Organizational Settings
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-0-76231-234-4

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Book part
Publication date: 26 June 2012

Abstract

Details

Experiencing and Managing Emotions in the Workplace
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78052-676-8

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