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Title: The evolving role of managers and non-manager professionals in a dispersed change management context : issues and implications
Author: Doyle, Mike
ISNI:       0000 0001 3431 986X
Awarding Body: Nottingham Trent University
Current Institution: Nottingham Trent University
Date of Award: 2008
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This study carries forward earlier research by the author into the management of change and the evolving role of managers and professionals who now find themselves involved or implicated in the process of organisational change. The conceptual focus for the study is the dynamic interplay between the structures that are generating the distribution of change management responsibility and the freedom of social actors to make intentional choices and decisions about how they will or will not assimilate that responsibility into their role, and the consequential effects this produces for them and the change process. The case study method was employed to investigate the roles of managers and professionals in two contrasting organisations: one a large Primary Care Trust, the other, a small Research and Technology company. A total of forty-four semi-structured interviews were conducted with a non-probabilistic sample of managers and professionals in both organisations. The data were supplemented by observation and an in-depth analysis of documentary data sources which were used to define and describe the substance and context of the change processes under investigation. Analysis of qualitative data was based on a modified grounded theory approach. The findings suggest there are challenges to the sustainability of rational, centred, top-down, hierarchical models of change management when they are confronted by the discontinuities and instabilities of contemporary change scenarios where hierarchy and status are arguably less meaningful and important and where control and certainty become more problematical. Arguments are made that senior managers, as change strategists, may have to learn to modify or even discard existing models of directive control. Instead, they will look to make second-order interventions that generate the receptive contexts for successful change. The aim is to 'push' responsibility towards their middle and junior managers and professionals and in doing so, to influence their willingness or otherwise to accept that responsibility. However, at the same time, change strategists may have to acknowledge and accept that the receptivity of individuals to 'pull' a responsibility for change management into their role by accepting a delegated responsibility, or to unilaterally and independently create their own area of responsibility, is a significant consideration in framing a progressive change strategy. Equally, any strategy has to acknowledge that individuals may resist or reject efforts to involve them in change management, or they may view responsibility as means to attain personal goals which may or may not be congruent with those of the organisation, and in that sense, change management responsibility could be used to undermine or even usurp the change process. With these issues in mind, the findings of the study suggest that the theory around change management appears to be underdeveloped and does not reflect the complexity and fluidity of leadership revealed by more recent empirical studies. Practical improvement must revolve around a more explicit need to �manage the change managers.� Here, the positive and negative effects of distributed responsibility are framed in a coherent HR strategy for selection, skills development and support to those involved in change management.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available