Research on organisational changes makes it easier to understand human relationships inside and outside a person
Businesses made up of men and women. Entrepreneurs but also workers, managers but also employees. The assumption is already known, but it is always useful to recall its focus: no self-respecting production organisation works without shared intent. In this context, it is also important to understand what happens in the face of change.
It is to try to provide an answer to this issue that Giovanni Di Stefano, Francesca Manerchia, Alessia Pantaleo, Alessia Liga (all of whom are researchers at the University of Palermo) conducted an investigation into what happens when something within an organisation assumes a different role from before.
More precisely, as the authors explain, the research “investigates how organisational change produces consequences in terms of the worker’s professional and personal identity, as well as on the quality of their identification with the organisation”.The case study in question is very specific: 12 employees of a small hospital, affected by a resizing process due to the reorganisation of personnel and beds. They were presented a narrative interview with the objective of investigating “the impact of the organisational change under way on personal and professional identities”. This was a specific and particular case, therefore, which nevertheless applies to other similar situations. Events whereby, due to the effect of decisions perhaps due to external factors, the team changes, the organisation evolves, new “bosses” arrive, others leave, new organisational paradigms replace previous ones, offices and factories are even moved.
The basic question to answer is: how does the identity and life of these people change?
The authors explain again: “The interviews, explored by means of statistical content analysis processes, brought to the light how workers who tend to identify themselves more closely with their professional role suffer negative repercussions on the representation of themselves, with a lack of identification with the company, perceived as unstable and are not capable of offering any security. The precariousness perceived in this transition phase puts in crisis the professional identity and the processes of metabolising change, affecting the personal choices and the daily life of the subjects involved”.
In short, when the company changes, so does the world, inside and out, of those who work there.
The investigation by Di Stefano, Manerchia, Pantaleo and Liga is not always easy to read, but it accompanies the reader along a journey that is initially theoretical and then on the field, which opens up important views to complete th more general view of how production and work are experienced for real. At one point, the authors write: “The organisations in which we operate represent (…) the shared institutional base where the foundations of our identity lie”.
Giovanni Di Stefano, Francesca Manerchia, Alessia Pantaleo, Alessia Liga
Narrare i gruppi .Etnografia dell’interazione quotidiana. (Narrating groups. Ethnography of daily interaction) Prospettive cliniche e sociali, vol. (Clinical and social perspectives, vol.) 12, no. 2, December 2017