Resistance to Change of Middle Managers

A Case Study of the Italian National Electricity Company (Enel)

Autori e curatori
Studi, ricerche
pp. 224,   figg. 15,     1a edizione  2001   (Codice editore 365.118)

Resistance to Change of Middle Managers. A Case Study of the Italian National Electricity Company (Enel)
Tipologia: Edizione a stampa
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Codice ISBN: 9788846426246

Presentazione del volume

Although resistance to change (RTC) is a very popular topic amongst academics and practitioners, only few of its aspects have received systematic attention in the literature.

The adoption of the change agent's point of view, the negative perception of RTC and the determination of ways on how to overcome it, are the most recurrent characteristics of RTC research. In addition, the relevant literature seems to lack a clear theoretical framework within which RTC might be examined. As a consequence of its negative connotations, a large number of factors have been blamed for causing RTC, which has mostly been measured either purely qualitatively or in terms of more indirect quantitative variables (e.g. turnover, absence, productivity, etc.). Based on a study of middle managers in the Italian National Electricity Company (ENEL), this research approaches RTC from an alternative assumption and perspective, which is already present in a minority of the relevant literature. RTC is seen as a natural consequence of any change and conceptualised in terms of a broader theoretical framework linked to notions of whistle blowing and principled organisational dissent.

Based on different strands of literature, this study first provides a systematic conceptualisation and operationalisation of RTC. It then develops and tests a progressively more complex set of explanatory models of RTC designed to identify and understand the main factors influencing individual RTC in organisations. The models are tested using structured survey data from a sample of over 300 middle managers in ENEL which, over the past decade, has undergone a number of major processes of change. The survey responses are examined with the support of qualitative data that help to contextualise and interpret the results of the quantitative analysis.

The research indicates that RTC is a function of personal, organisational and circumstantial factors, where the individual's perception of whether the change implies costs or benefits, along a number of key dimensions, plays a central role. Furthermore, individuals' attitudes towards the change, their personal orientation to change and their commitment to the organisation are also shown to have a very important impact on RTC, since they also mediate the effect of other factors. Finally, the way change is planned and implemented is also shown to have a significant impact on RTC.



Objectives and Issues of the Research - The Research Methodology

(The Research Method: a Cross Sectional Case Study; Data Collection; The Questionnaire Design; The Sample)

A Review of the Literature and a Discussion of Six Issues in the Analysis of Resistance to Change

(The Origin of the Debate on Resistance to Change; Resistance to Organisational or Technical Change; The Negative Perception of Resistance to Change; Six Issues in the Analysis of RTC; The First Issue: Resistant Attitudes and Behaviours; The Second Issue: 'Time' as a Critical Element; The Third Issue: the Type of Organisation, the Climate and the Culture; The Fourth Issue: the Object of RTC; The Fifth Issue: Links with OCB; The Sixth Issue: the Problems of Measurement and Operationalisation)

ENEL and the Research Context

(ENEL Today; Some Historical Notes: the Origin of ENEL; The Privatisation Process in Italy; The Institutional Steps Towards the Privatisation of ENEL; The Impact of the New Regulatory Framework in ENEL; Strategic Change at ENEL; The Organisational Change: Restructuring of ENEL; The Impact of the Change on the Size of the Workforce; The New Performance Evaluation System; The New Recruitment and Selection System; The Object of Resistance to Change)

Conceptualisation and Operationalisation of Resistance to Change

(RTC in this Research: the Alternative Perspective; A Framework of Reference: Extra-Role Behaviours (ERB); Resistance to Change as Organisational Dissent; Characteristics of WB, POD and RTC; RTC and ERB: Some Elements for Discussion; The Characteristics of RTC; A Working Definition of Resistance to Change; The Set of Resistant Behaviours to Change; The Guidelines for the Operationalisation of RTC; The Items for Measuring RTC; The Factor Analysis; Setting a Paradigm for the Interpretation of the Results; The Type of Behavioural Responses; Indifferent/passive Resistors or Timid Resistors?; The Choice of the Scale; The Relation Between OCB and RTC)

The Results of the Study

(Classification of the Sources of Resistance to Change; Elements of a Basic 'Classic' Model of RTC; The First Research Model and Hypotheses; Independent Variables and Their Components; Measures for the Dependent Variable; Measures for the Independent Variables; Control Variables; Analysis Procedures; Descriptive Statistics for Research Model 1, 1

  • and 2; Testing the Basic 'Classic' Model (Research Model 1); Testing the Basic 'Classic' Research Model Using Separate Components of the Perceived Costs/Benefits of Change (Research Model 1
  • ); Attitudes as Predictors of Behaviours; Extended Research Model and Hypotheses; Analysis Procedures for Research Model 3, 4 and 4
  • ; Descriptive Statistics for Research Model 3, 4 and 4
  • ; Testing the Explanatory Power of Aggregate Attitudes Towards Change (Research Model 3); The Introduction of Pro-Change Climate (as an Independent Variable) and Normative Orientation to Change (as an Intermediate Variable) (Research Model 4); Testing Research Model 4 with Components of Perceived Costs/Benefits of Change and Attitudes towards Change (Research Model 4
  • ); The Introduction of Organisational Commitment; The Concept of Organisational Commitment; Organisational Commitment and Resistance to Change; Antecedents of Organisational Commitment; Other Antecedents of OC: the Link with the RTC Framework; Analysis Procedures for Research Model 5 and 5
  • ; Descriptive Statistics for Research Model 5 and 5
  • ; Testing the Explanatory Power of OC and Its Antecedents (Research Model 5); Testing the Explanatory Power of OC and Its Antecedents in the RTC Research Model with Individual Components (Research Model 5
  • ))

    Conclusions and Policy Implications for ENEL

    (The Fulfilment of the Three Objectives of the Research; Development of a Theoretical Frame of Reference and Conceptualisation of RTC; Contribution of the Study; The Response to the Six Issues in the Analysis of RTC; Policy Implications; Cautions and Potential Limitations of the Study; Directions for Future Research).