Academic journal article South Asian Journal of Management

Managing Grassroot-Level Change in an Indian PSU: The Role of People-Centric Strategies

Academic journal article South Asian Journal of Management

Managing Grassroot-Level Change in an Indian PSU: The Role of People-Centric Strategies

Article excerpt


Many firms have resorted to modify their strategies, structures and processes in order to remain competitive in today's hyper turbulent environment (Wischnevsky and Damanpour, 2006). Although few would dispute the validity of this statement, important issues, including the relationship between change processes and successful change outcomes have remained largely unexplored (Pettigrew, Woodman and Cameron, 2001; and Wischnevsky and Damanpour, 2006). Though many studies have tried to disentangle the interrelated set of factors contributing to the success of change initiatives (Pettigrew, Woodman and Cameron, 2001), very few studies have directly examined the conditions that lead to the successful organizational change and come up with implementable ideas and the magic formula towards workforce management to ensure the increase in the success rate of change initiatives. The lack of systematic attention is especially surprising as unsuccessful change can lead to ruinous outcomes and organizations which fails to change can quickly become "corporate dinosaurs" (Lawler and Galbraith, 1994).

Also, it has been witnessed that only few changes can be mandated from the top and put into place without acceptance from employees (Reichers, Wanous, and Austin, 1997). Therefore, the manner in which management treats and aligns its workforce during change is a powerful determinant of individuals' reactions to major organizational changes (Beer, 1980; Kotter, 1995; Reichers, Wanous and Austin, 1997; and Fedor, 2006). In fact, a recent study has rightly professed that change effectiveness depends on recipient's acceptance of and participation in change (Kim and Rousseau, 2006). Thus, adaptable workforce, which is positively disposed to change (Guest, 1992; and Iverson, 1996) can go a long way in ensuring the success of the change intervention.

Also, presumably reflecting the importance of the workforce during change, our research provides a fruitful ground for exploring some of the important triggers of successful change which has been identified as an important yet neglected area for research. Recent studies, though, has empirically validated that HR interventions influences employees' readiness to change (Palmer and Dunford, 2008; and Soumyaja, Kamalanabhan, and Bhattacharyya, 2011) but the practical, implementable variables linking alignment of HR strategies with business strategies during change are curiously under-studied by change management researchers.

Furthermore, our research results indicate that employee acceptance of the organizational change is increased by education for skill enhancement (Cordery, Sevastos, Mueller, and Parker, 1993; and Iverson, 1996). Thus, yet another implication of this work is towards enhancement of scholars understanding of the importance of skill enhancement and knowledge enrichment interventions to take the organizational change forward. Finally, it has been witnessed that a growing body of work examines workforce management during the change (Kochanski, 1996; Klein and Sorra, 1996; and Bordia, Hobman, Jones, Gallois, and Callan, 2004) and it can be argued that there are times when the people side of change is accounted for in a token or an instrumental way (Scheneider and Goldwasser, 1998). Thus, this study promotes that facilitative HR interventions like persistent communication (Ledez, 2008), empowerment and involvement (Quinn and Spreitzer, 1997; Lansbury and Wailes, 2002; and Brown and Cregan, 2008), training and development for skill enhancement (Cordery, Sevastos, Mueller and Parker, 1993) can help organizations to overcome organizational change and cynicism and align workforce with strategic change goals.


The current research provides an important step towards identifying the conditions that can start delivering better results by having people centric HR interventions for managing workforce during organizational restructuring (Pfeffer, 1998). …

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