Academic journal article SA Journal of Human Resource Management

What Matters for Organisational Change? Evidence from DEPZ, Bangladesh

Academic journal article SA Journal of Human Resource Management

What Matters for Organisational Change? Evidence from DEPZ, Bangladesh

Article excerpt


Background to the study

Customer and consumer demands and preferences have changed rapidly. This has made businesses more competitive in the global market (Abrahamson, 2004; Rodrik, 1997).

The Dhaka export-processing zone (DEPZ) is one of the largest economic zones in terms of its export allotment, employment generation and volume of investment, especially foreign direct investment. To meet customer demands and to compete globally, the DEPZ needs to exploit its human and material resources. The DEPZ has an influence with its foreign direct investment and employment generation. The role of human resources management (HRM) is very important for linking employees' capabilities with DEPZ performance because it is a requirement of good business.

Consistent with human resources (HR) policy, the Bangladesh export processing zone authority (BEPZA) has produced Manual Instructions I and II for regulating EPZ enterprises. Nevertheless, there are some irregular activities occurring in enterprises and within as well as outside of the EPZ. As a result, they have had negative effects on investors' confidence. Workers are dissatisfied. Layoffs occur in organisations and productivity as well as performance are low (Eusuf, Faraque & Rahman, 2007).

Businesses in the DEPZ, with its different enterprises and different countries of origin, are facing ongoing internal and external forces for change. In the DEPZ, there are both local and expatriate enterprises with local and expatriate personnel at the operational and management levels.

These enterprises interpret the circumstances according to their own frames of reference that their own perceptions and senses direct (Harigopal, 2001; OECD, 2002). Where leadership abilities and organisational behaviours (like organisational culture, organisational learning, motivation, values and rituals) have direct effects on organisational performance (Davis, 1984; Keller, 2007), employee behaviour differs from one employee to another. Therefore, business leaders or managers need to understand it.

The organisational behaviours this study covers human behaviour, change, team or group, leadership, human relationship and so on. These components have direct or indirect relationships with organisational change.

Researchers have conducted a number of studies on socioeconomic issues, empowerment, export performance and gender issues, whereas issues like HRM practices, leadership abilities and organisational behaviour remained almost untouched (Aggarwal, 2005; Eusuf et al., 2007; Zohir, 2001, 2007). The studies reported that BEPZA has banned trade unionisation in the EPZ because it might have negative effects on its enterprises' production.

However, the reports noted that trade unions have positive effects on wages and employment in manufacturing enterprises (Aggarwal, 2005; Bhattacharya, 1998; Eusuf et al., 2007; Hossain, 2002; Zohir, 2001, 2007). Bangladesh has also ratified International Labour Organisation (ILO) Convention 1948 (No. 87) and national collective bargaining 1949 (No. 98) for workers' rights. In addition, the Industrial Relations Ordinance XXII of 1969 has supported and protected employment conditions.

The BEPZA has banned trade unions in the EPZ because it is a threat from investors' points of view (Eusuf et al., 2007). However, Zohir (2007) asserted that unionisation could play a role for workers rights. Finally, the Bangladesh government has approved trade unionisation in the EPZ through a decision of Parliament (Government of Bangladesh [GOB], 2010). However, there have been very few studies to investigate the whole approach of HRM and industrial relations in manufacturing enterprises in South Asian countries, especially the DEPZ in Bangladesh.

Research questions

The main research question of this study is whether the success of organisational change depends on organisational behaviour, leadership and HRM practices at DEPZ manufacturing enterprises. …

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