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Resistance to change : the bumpy way of a German medium-sized enterprise in the industry of oil and natural gas during its process of corporate re-structuring and change

Zimmer, Mr. Emanuel (2015) Resistance to change : the bumpy way of a German medium-sized enterprise in the industry of oil and natural gas during its process of corporate re-structuring and change.

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Abstract:In the previous decades the importance of organizational change increased, especially for historically grown organizations which were embedded in older industries, such as the steel-, transportation- or energy industry. The reorganization of those firms were, on the one hand, stimulated by governmental interventions such as the liberalization of the markets, as well as on the other hand by complex manufacturing and production procedures. In order to survive and stay competitive, the organizations that are active in old industries needed to change their organizational model to the rapidly changing external environment. The majority of firms start to reorganize themselves internally to be more cost efficient. Changing a historically grown company has the common problem that the workforce might show a resistance to change, which endangers the complete change process. In order to minimize this resistance to change, a focus on the empowerment and participation of the employees is needed to raise their awareness and help them to act in an entrepreneurial manner. This research has been conducted in a mayor European company in the oil and natural gas industry, which is currently restructuring itself. Various theoretical and practical approaches to steer such an organization are existing in the area of change management. The focus of these models is either on a cultural- or structural reorganization. The present research focuses on the combination of both types of models as the organization is reorganizing their organizational culture and structure at the same time. The structural reorganization was done by the reconfiguration of internal structures and responsibilities from a mechanistic structure to a matrix-structure. The organizational culture should be changed by using five golden rules, which reflect the Entrepreneurial Orientation (EO) construct. The construct of the EO is mainly interpreted as a moderator between an organizational culture and the organizational outcome. Several authors support the view that the EO can be used as a strategic tool to influence the organizational culture and the company’s operational model. To address this problem, the following research question has been established: “Does the Entrepreneurial Orientation of the employees has an effect on the employee resistance to change during a structural reorganization” This research investigates if the construct may also influence -in a positive, negative or neutral manner- the resistance to structural changes of the employees. In order to discover an effect of the EO, a qualitative case-study research was performed. In total 17 semi-structured interviews of three embedded groups (impacted, non-impacted and work council) within the case company have been conducted. The interviewees were sampled in a cross-sectional way in order to have equal groups to increase the credibility of this study. This research explored several interesting findings, which contribute to the area of change management, resistance to change and the entrepreneurial orientation. First, the interviews and observations show that the entrepreneurial orientation construct (innovativeness, pro-activeness and risk taking) are present at the case company and that this construct supports the break up of the existing sub-cultures within the organization. Second, my own practical change model was developed which combines the overlapping dimensions of the nine most cited and renowned structural change models. This simplified model provides guidance to plan and monitor an organizational change for managers. Third, the results indicate that the EO construct might be used as a tool to change the employees' mind-set, even when not all steps of prominent change models (e.g. ADKAR model) were achieved. These findings provide change agents and managers practical guidance, which saves time and keeps the motivation of the employees high. Fourth, another main result is that the EO influences the resistance to change in terms of the change readiness of the employees for a structural change. An interesting point is that the study explored that the top and middle management has a resistance to change, which is paradoxical because that group normally delegates the change. The fifth main finding underlines the importance of the communication prior to and during a reorganization, in terms of quality and frequency. In more detail, this research underpinned the importance of good communication between the top and middle management in order to avoid resistance.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:85 business administration, organizational science
Programme:Business Administration MSc (60644)
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