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Identifying the Problem
The proponents of the study wanted to find out the extent of the OC that was transforming the UK’s socio-economic landscape. They wanted to know how these changes are affecting UK managers. With regards to the impact of the said business transformations, they were able to find out that there were a variety of perceived consequences. The proponents of the study wanted an in-depth analysis of the said OC. They also wanted to find out if there were different ways of looking at the way things were functioning from the point of view of managers coming from three different sectors. They wanted to find out if they had different views and experiences with regard to their respective working environment.
Identifying the Hypothesis
The hypothesis was not stated explicitly, and it was given in the form of an assertion. The proponents of the study pointed out that they were able to get hold of information that allowed them to make certain assumptions.
For example, they believed that the managers working in three different sectors exhibited diverse worldviews and experiences in reaction to the changes that were sweeping through their respective organizations. In conventional research design, it is customary for the researchers to prove or disprove the hypothesis in light of the evidence gathered or in view of the results of the experiment. However, in this particular study, the members of the research team already knew that there were pronounced differences in the perceptions and experiences of the managers working in three different sectors. Thus, the development of the research design focused on the identification of these changes.
The Need for the Study
It is important to know the performance of public and private enterprises in order to acquire an insight into the state of the national economy and the performance of the public sector when it comes to government-related services. The need to know these things entered a whole new level of significance when viewed from the perspective of the study. According to the proponents of the said research endeavor, a higher level of organizational change has been impacting the public sector.
The same thing can be said about former government enterprises that were transformed into private organizations. The study discovered an overall negative impact. However, managers reported minimal impact on the private sector. It is imperative to find out the exact nature of these changes, how these forces are transforming the public and private sectors, and figure out the appropriate intervention strategies that are applicable in order to turn things around.
The research team simply collated data using the end result of surveys conducted by an organization behind the UMIST-Institute of Management Quality of Working Life Survey. It has to be made clear that after considering data in two annual reports, only 27 percent responded to the surveys that were conducted in the year 1997, and 26 percent responded to the same survey in 1998. Therefore, there were only 1,362 valid responses for the first year, and then, there were only 1,313 valid responses for the second year. The proponents of the study attempted to compare and contrast the impact of OC on managers assigned to the public sector, the utility sector, and the private sector.
Summary of the Review of Literature
A connection was made between the emergence of models of change and the rationale for undertaking these transformational steps. The review of literature pointed out that the root cause of organizational changes comes to the need for creating cost-efficient business models on the basis of downsizing, delayering of management structures, cost reduction, and outsourcing. These changes were made without considering the needs of the workforce and the stakeholders that are going to be affected by the said changes.
Through the review of literature, the research team discovered that the need to implement modifications within the public sector, such as the application of the private-sector type of business strategies are going to create problems in the long run. For example, there was no intensive study that was created to look into the consequences of downsizing a workforce that was never trained to handle tasks beyond the context of the public sector.
Managers of organizations under the public sector umbrella experienced problems when it came to the implementation of policies and regulations designed to lower the cost of doing business. In many cases these changes were implemented without considering the internal and external factors that were at work in any given industry.
There were gaps in the literature. For example, there was no data on how managers were coping with the double burden of implementing changes and going through the same process. The review of literature revealed that a high number of managers were not equipped to handle major changes in their lives.
The Assumptions, Limitations and Potential for Future Research
The research team made the assumption that the results of the interview created a pool of resources enough to make generalizations regarding the impact of organizational changes. However, there were several limitations that were not addressed. First, the data collated from respondents came mostly from senior managers. An overview of the information gathered revealed that middle and junior managers were under-represented.
In addition, only 62 percent of the respondents acknowledged that they were going through some form of organizational change. Improvements to the methodology section and the overall research design represent promising avenues for future research. For example, the research team must work with a pre-selected pool of managers representing different levels of growth and experience. In addition, all of them must go through the process of organizational change.
The proponents of the study concluded that a significant level of organization change was detected with the utilities sector and followed closely by the public sector. There were pronounced differences in the worldviews and experiences of the managers in all three sectors. The managers in the public sector and the utilities sector were critical of the overall impact of the organizational changes that were implemented for the purpose of cost-efficiency without giving due consideration to all stakeholders that were affected by the proposed changes. Managers were compelled to make the conclusion that the root cause of the negative outcomes of organizational changes was the mismanagement of human resources, especially when it comes to downsizing, cost-cutting, and outsourcing.
The title of the article says it all. The title reveals how the research team started with an ambitious plan to answer key questions regarding the nature and impact of OC in the UK, only to fall short at the end. In fact, the research design was jumpstarted with the idea of determining the impact of change on all three: the public sector, utilities sector, and private sector. However, in the end, it only acknowledged the public sector.
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This may seem like an oversight or perhaps this was the acknowledgement that the data collected was not enough to make confident assertions regarding the private and public sectors. The title of the study also indirectly revealed how the research team struggled to frame the real nature of the utilities companies. It was difficult for them to consider if these companies were privately owned or government owned. Thus, these conflicting ideas about the utilities sector may have prompted them to make the declaration at the end that they were highlighting the impact on organizations under the public sector.
The first major flaw of the research design started with an ambitious goal of measuring organizational changes. At one point, the research team attempted to narrow down the focus of the study. However, they did not succeed in their attempt, because they simply narrowed it down to at least three major areas of organizational changes that are possible to happen to a business enterprise, and these are: downsizing, cost-cutting, and outsourcing. In addition, the research team did not focus on the utilities group, they included the government-funded organizations and those that were transitioning to become private companies or at least adapting the business models utilized by the private sector.
The secondary major flaw of the research design was the decision to utilize the outcome of the survey conducted by another research group. From the beginning, the research was unable to accomplish the study’s stated goals. There was an absence of critical information regarding the private sector. Furthermore, there was a disparity in the respondents coming from the utilities sector. However, there was a greater percentage of managers in the utilities sector that were able to experience the impact of the implementation of OC for the purpose of cost-efficiency and the enhancement of the organization’s revenue streams.
The third major flaw of the research design was the failure of the research team to distinguish the managers that were able to contribute something significant to the discussion regarding the impact of organizational changes. A majority of the respondents coming from the private sector did not acknowledge or knew that his or her company was going through a corporate overhaul. It is interesting how the research team defended this revelation.
They said that private companies are less likely to report if their respective organizations are going through significant changes. This is a confusing statement, because the study was purely based on the answers to the questionnaire. It is difficult to figure out how they made the generalization that private companies were not eager to share information regarding organizational changes. The alternative scenario is more problematic because it suggests that the respondents from the private sector were withholding information.
Judging against the flaws of the research design, one can make the assertion that the research findings are unacceptable and not verifiable. Thus, the only acceptable information are those coming from managers willing to discuss their experiences when their respective organizations were being overhauled for the purpose of creating a competitive advantage or for the purpose of increasing the profitability of the organization.
Thus, at the end, the research team was correct in declaring that the outcome of the research process was valid only when referring to the public sector. The research team did not have enough information to make a judgment regarding the plight of managers in the private sector. On the other hand, they were not yet sure how to label the utilities company that were formerly under the control of the government and transitioning to the private sector. Therefore, it is best to simply state that the study can only discuss with authority the ramifications of organizational changes in the public sector.