UWA team probes failure of change

A UNIVERSITY of WA team is trying to find why many organisational change programs fail.

For many companies, redesign programs often result in the

creation of work teams who are given additional decision making responsibilities.

It seems first-line managers and supervisors are often threatened by change processes and new forms of work organisation such as total quality management, just in time processing and self-managing work teams.

The study will examine the extent to which supervisors are resistant to teamwork as well as their beliefs about teams.

The study will involve several hundred supervisors in charge of self-managing or traditional work teams from a number of different organisations.

Head of UWA department of organisational and labour studies John Cordery said while resistance to change by supervisors was often ill-founded, many were concerned about the impact of the change program on their work role.

“Some are concerned as to what the changes mean to their authority in a status sense,” Professor Cordery said.

“There can be concerns regarding the managerial motivation for change – whether it is just to downsize the workforce.”

Professor Cordery said, while organisational change may lead to the reduction of middle managers and supporting clerical staff, the supervisor was there to stay.

Potential benefits of the study include the identification of training and support needed to facilitate team development, as well as selection criteria for supervisors and team members.

Organisations interested in participating in the study are encouraged to contact Professor Cordery on 9380 2006.

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