Academic journal article Journal of Global Business and Technology

Managers' Role in Implementing Organizational Change: Case of the Restaurant Industry in Melbourne

Academic journal article Journal of Global Business and Technology

Managers' Role in Implementing Organizational Change: Case of the Restaurant Industry in Melbourne

Article excerpt

ABSTRACT

The restaurant industry is an integral segment of the hospitality sector that is sensitive to external environmental changes. In order to remain competitive, restaurants must be flexible to quickly react and adapt to external environment challenges. Due to the close interactions and relationships between employees and managers, there can be direct effects on a restaurants performance when internal and external change occurs.

This research project was conducted in the city of Melbourne, known for its fine dining and cosmopolitan style cuisine. The study investigated managers' role when initiating and implementing organizational change in order to minimise possible employees' resistance to change. The findings support previous theoretical approaches to effective change management. The key elements to support change were effective communication, employees' attitude and perception of managers' undertaken actions.

"You know, I'm all for progress. It's change I object to"

Mark Twain, cited by Pietersen, 2002

INTRODUCTION

Change, defined as an effort that consists of actual physical changes to operations and different emotional stimulation (Bernerth, 2004) is painful in the workplace, going from what is certain and known to the otherwise. Employees lose the comfort of the known and the familiar, the sense of competency they used to possess, the status and/or financial security they once enjoyed and networks they have gone at length to build. Though we all rationally recognize that progress means change, and that we all need to progress, but not even the prospect of attaining benefits from change would make everyone ready and willing, or indeed able, to embrace change. On the contrary, it is widely believed that most would resist change. Duck (1993) bluntly points that "change is intensely personal" and Pietersen (2002) reckons that "for many people, the spectre of change produces what is sometimes called the Factor- Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt".

Since change is widely accepted as almost always top-down and induced by the management, those being managed would also almost always resist to change, imposing an imperative for managers to overcome the resistance before it could bring the change forward.

Resistance to change is often understood from the management standpoint as a perceived behaviour of organization's members who refuse to accept an organizational change (Cheng & Petrovic-Lazarevic, 2004; Coghlan, 1993). It is also defined as a multifaceted phenomenon which introduces unanticipated delays, costs, and instabilities into the process of a strategic change (Ansoff, 1988). Bemmels and Reshef (1991) understand it as any employee actions attempting to stop or delay change.

Obviously being viewed as adversarial and detrimental, resistance to change has gained a negative connotation (Waddell and Sohal, 1998) that allegedly confounded the problem of effecting change by promulgating a dichotomous thinking of labour versus management (Dent and Goldberg, 1999). Recently, an appreciation of resistance to change from a more pluralistic employee-centred perspective and its role in organizational change (Waddell and Sohal, 1998) has lead to the resistance to change interpretation from a psychological point of view (Conner, 1998), as a natural outcome of people's internal defence mechanism (Bovey and Hede, 2001), or background conversations among employees that constitute the constructed reality (Ford, Ford, & McNamara, 2002). Paterson and Hartel (2000) interpreted resistance to change as a people's cognition and affect or the perceived organizational justice done, while Rousseau (1989), McLean Parks and Kidder (1994) find it significantly related with the violation of the employment psychological contract.

Resistance to change may be categorized into three groups of factors (Mabin, Forgeson & Green, 2001): organizational, group and individual. …

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