The role of obstructing and facilitating process of change
There are a growing number of rich, qualitative studies investigating patterns in the development of strategic change. These reveal that it is not possible to understand the incremental and emergent nature of strategic change in organisations without recognising the impact of micro organisational political and social processes. However, few studies set out to explore in depth the implementation of a particular strategic change initiative to examine how these micro processes affect the way the implementation develops through time. This thesis uses a longitudinal real-time case study of a planned strategic change implementation to do this. It examines how facilitating and obstructing processes developed during the implementation, and how these interacting processes affected the way the implementation progressed, from the perspective of middle managers as change recipients. r The findings show that during intended change implementation, the planned interventions put in place by senior managers as they intentionally try to carry out change also lead to the development of emergent facilitating and obstructing processes. A sensemaking perspective is adopted to show how these emergent change elements arise from recipient interpretations of the planned change interventions. A theory of mediation is proposed to account for the findings. However, the contribution of the research is not to do with the identification of the centrality of sensemaking processes during change. It is an empirical study which draws on existing theories on sensemaking to show how recipient sensemaking contributes to both intended and unintended change outcomes, thereby providing fresh insights into how and why change implementation becomes an emergent and incremental process. The thesis has four main parts to it. The first part deals with the research background and methodology; the second part the research site context and, the ethnographic stories of change; the third part the findings and theory development; and the last chapter the theoretical and practical implications of the research findings.