A Call for Studying Reorganizations at the Micro-Level

By Spencer, Joe | Journal of Organizational Culture, Communications and Conflict, July 1, 2007 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

A Call for Studying Reorganizations at the Micro-Level

Spencer, Joe, Journal of Organizational Culture, Communications and Conflict


The research analyzing corporate reorganizations at the micro-level is in short supply. Micro-level reorganizations are reorganizations that are not corporate-wide in nature. These micro-level restructures occur at the functional unit level within a corporate governance structure (including departments/divisions and processes). Micro-level research is recommended in five contexts: 1.) the volume and importance of micro-level reorganizations 2.) the nature of the drivers that cause micro-level reorganizations 3.) the motivations of managers who cause and implement micro-level reorganizations and what happens to those managers following the reorganizations 4.) the abilities of those instituting the micro-level changes 5.) the success of micro-level reorganizations as they relate to the type of reorganization, effects on work activities, reasons for and methods of implementation.


Could it be that in our exuberance to understand and support corporate reorganizations, that we have let the media influence our research? Could our studies have diverted attention from the crucial areas which could enable overall firm success resulting from reorganizational events? Even if reorganizations are corporate-wide, the execution of such a reorganization is at the departmental level. In addition, department level reorganizations apart from corporate-wide events occur with a frequency and with such impact to corporate effectiveness and efficiency, that study should be devoted to reorganizations at the micro-level.


Corporate reorganizations have been in vogue for the past 15 plus years. Media attention has made reorganizations primary events executives examine for productivity gains. Despite the level of reorganizational activity and the impact reorganizations have caused upon human lives and company profits, few studies have not been done on one of the most crucial areas of reorganizational efforts - the effects of reorganizations at the micro-level. The micro-level of reorganization applies to reorganizational efforts which are not corporate-wide in nature. Rather, these micro-level restructures are at the functional unit level within a corporate governance structure (including departments and processes within a company). These functional units conduct reorganizational activity apart from corporate-wide efforts and are the instruments of implementing corporate-wide reorganizational activities. Micro-level reorganizations include events which are as simple as realigning who reports to whom (structural only), to the complex reorganizations which are done in conjunction with system and process changes (reengineering) and those associated with eliminating organizations and downsizing sections of a company.

Corporate-wide (macro-level) reorganization efforts often include multiple micro-level reorganizations within the umbrella of corporate-wide change efforts. However, the micro-level reorganization can occur independent from executive level corporate-wide change interventions. At the macro-firm level a host of studies have been conducted analyzing corporate restructures. These studies review theoretical understandings as diverse as Darwinistic evolutionary theories applied to corporate-wide reorganizations (White, Marin, Brazeal and Friedman, 1997) and Kleiner's thesis that change agents from the fourth through eighth century were no different than the corporate change agents of today (Kleiner, 1996). The research level devoted to these types of corporate change efforts has been impressive.

Upon the development of the reorganization craze it was immediately recognized that from a business, HR, and interpersonal level the causes, processes and effects of corporate-wide reorganizations needed to be understood and advice provided to corporate executives. Research now needs to be directed toward micro-level reorganizations, both for understanding their importance, and how such reorganizations can be made more effective.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Cite this article

Cited article

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

A Call for Studying Reorganizations at the Micro-Level


Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?