The impact of organisational change on employee attitudes in a South African multinational company
Coertzen, Johan Johannes
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Mergers and acquisitions remain an important strategy that many organisations both globally and locally follow to achieve diversity and growth. Smaller businesses as well as business segments always face the possibility that they may be the target of such initiatives which was the case for a local manufacturer in the medical diagnostic field. This change as well as the current economic climate have forced local management to take a hard look at how they conduct business in order to remain competitive not only as business but also now as part of a Italian multinational group. This change also put pressure on the business from a staffing point of view as change brings uncertainty and uncertainty may relate in the loss of staff. Being the only manufacturer of diagnostic kits in the country staff retention is very important as the needed skill in this segment is very scarce. Because of this this study was undertaken to try and determine the impact the change associated with the acquisition has had on the employees of the organisation. It also intended to determine if a structured model was followed to manage the change process at the organisation and lastly to determine what could be done by management to change the situation. For this study a qualitative approach was followed as the aim was to gather an in-depth understanding of the behaviour of the employees of the company during changes at the company, as well as the reasons that governed such behaviour. Data was collected from employees using a questionnaire that contained both open and closed-ended questions. The close-ended questions were measured using a five-point Likert-type scale. Already documented company information relevant to the study was also used. The research indicated that one of the biggest changes brought on by the acquisition was a change in organisational culture as well as a change in attitude of senior management which has not been perceived as being positive. There were however indications that if the purpose of change is clearly defined the negative impact thereof on the perception employees can be limited. Although there were indications that management clearly defined the purpose for change and were very involved they lacked involving all stakeholders and get their commitment to the process. It is clear that stakeholder involvement and management communication throughout the change process is key its success. A number of recommendations are made to assist management in any future change and change initiatives to improve the effectiveness of such initiatives. The intention is to try and ensure that any future change or change initiatives have a positive impact on the employees and in that way a positive impact on the organisation.