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Title: Making sense of change communication during restructuring : a case study of a public sector authority in Northern Ireland
Author: McConnell, Ashley Alice
ISNI:       0000 0004 5992 8786
Awarding Body: Ulster University
Current Institution: Ulster University
Date of Award: 2016
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This study critically investigated how organisational members made sense of change within a local government authority in Northern Ireland. The large-scale Review of Public Administration (RPA) that unfolded over a ten-year period presented a unique case study opportunity to assess how change and sensemaking are linked within a public sector setting. Adopting a longitudinal approach, the change communication process was investigated using two sensemaking frameworks used in parallel: Dervin's (1984) Sense-Making Metaphor and Weick's (1995) sensemaking framework. Qualitative data were obtained using the MicroMoment Time-Line Interview technique across two key phases; thus enabling a longitudinal comparison of how sensemaking changed over time. Although previous research acknowledged the importance of communication during organisational change, to date there is dearth of literature on communication processes that emerge in this context. Additionally, there has been little examination of the links between large-scale organisational change and sensemaking over time. As such, this thesis sets out to redress these research gaps by investigating the nature, form and effects of organisational members' sensemaking during major organisational restructuring. Key findings indicated that sensemaking is central to the success of any transformation programme. Heightened uncertainty and fear for organisational members results in the necessity to engage in cycles of perpetual sensemaking for prolonged periods of time. Due to the politically driven nature of the change process, and the unavailability of formal (factual) information, the psychological impact on employees was significant - a point worthy of note for future change programmes. Accordingly, the implications of these results aims to benefit academics and change leaders alike by adding to the body of sensemaking and communication literature in this field.
Supervisor: Stapleton, Karyn ; Hargie, Owen Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available