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Talking about change: understanding employee experiences through qualitative research


Bryant, M, Talking about change: understanding employee experiences through qualitative research, Management Decision, 44, (2) pp. 246-258. ISSN 0025-1747 (2006) [Refereed Article]

DOI: doi:10.1108/00251740610650229


Purpose The purpose of this paper is to focus on the understanding that can be gained about employees' use of voice as a response to organisational change using qualitative research and, in particular, narrative analysis. Narrative analysis of voice can provide insight into why voice is used and how voice differs from resistance. Design/methodology/approach This paper uses a constructivist approach to study the interpretations of participants and explores the qualitative research interview as a method of data collection that enables participants to report experiences of organisational change. Thematic narrative analysis explores inductive themes that are embedded within participants' stories. Findings Findings suggest that qualitative research approaches are useful in exploring individual interpretations of voice, such as the forms in which voice is used, reasons why voice is used, and participant reports of management reactions to voice. Findings from the narrative analysis suggests that voice may be confused with resistance in the workplace and is likely to lead to negative reactions from management, even though both the literature and participants differentiate between intentions of voice and resistance to change. Research limitations/implications The paper calls for further research concerning employee intentions surrounding the use of voice as well as management perceptions of employees' use of voice. Originality/value Qualitative studies can explore differences between voice and resistance through unlocking voices of employees who are marginalised in management literature. Such studies also derive feedback from staff about the effects of change programmes, thus providing managers with information from which communication/participation strategies could be tailored to individual organisations.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:Qualitative research, narratives, employee attitudes, organizational change, Australia
Research Division:Commerce, Management, Tourism and Services
Research Group:Strategy, management and organisational behaviour
Research Field:Organisational planning and management
Objective Division:Expanding Knowledge
Objective Group:Expanding knowledge
Objective Field:Expanding knowledge in commerce, management, tourism and services
UTAS Author:Bryant, M (Professor Melanie Bryant)
ID Code:114020
Year Published:2006
Deposited By:TSBE
Deposited On:2017-02-02
Last Modified:2017-02-02

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