Staff doubt ability of firms to change: study

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 03 June, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 03 June, 2006, 12:00am

Workers support need to maintain competitive edge

Workers generally support making necessary changes for their companies to stay competitive, but are sceptical about management's ability to carry them through, a survey has found.

The study by City University's Department of Management, based on telephone interviews last month with 300 people aged 18 or above, was aimed at determining employees' perception about changes in manpower, technology and human resources.

The survey measured employees' attitudes on a scale of one to six, representing increasing levels of agreement with management practices and the impact of change.

Workers generally agreed that their organisations needed to change in order to stay competitive, with a mean score of 4.09.

While most were confident of their ability to handle change, with a mean score of 4.14, most preferred slow change (mean score 3.71). Those in favour of rapid change had a mean score of 2.96.

The respondents tended to think that changes had a more positive impact on their companies (mean score 4.14) but were less positive about their jobs (mean score 3.89).

However, they only expressed modest trust in their management's ability to implement needed change (mean score 3.7).

When asked to rate whether their companies were using best or responsible practices to effect changes, the mean score was only 3.45. This indicated there was still room for improvement, said Christina Sue-Chan, an assistant professor at the department.

She observed that those who agreed that senior management was performing very well were the ones who had been informed of the reasons for the change and were involved in the process.

The 'management change practices' listed included 'explaining reasons for change and benefits from it', 'employees have a say in what changes are made and how', 'management supports employees', and 'management forces employees to accept change'.