Organizational Change Readiness Sentiments: Understanding Middle Manager Sensemaking and Sensegiving
Type of Degreedissertation
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Much has been written about managing change in the workplace, including how to develop change readiness in the organization. However, little is known about how middle managers form their change readiness sentiments, and subsequently influence their subordinates’ readiness beliefs. Drawing on an inductive analysis of interview responses of 80 Indian and American middle managers, three related qualitative studies were conducted to better understand the change readiness sentiments’ sensemaking and sensegiving behaviors of middle managers. In the first paper, a qualitative examination of the initial thoughts and concerns of the middle managers about recently announced organizational changes was conducted. Content analysis of interview responses revealed the soundness of the five change readiness sentiments as proposed by Armenakis and colleagues (1993, 1999). Differences in the change sentiments of Indian and American managers were noted and explained in the light of differences in cultural dimensions. In the second paper, I identified the various readiness cues that middle managers attend to. Additionally, I found that middle managers’ sensemaking occurred in two stages – anticipatory and confirmatory, and that the managers depended on change readiness schemas based on both tacit and explicit cues. Finally, a temporal model of the change readiness sensemaking process is developed based upon the data. In the third paper, I examined how middle managers consciously framed their change readiness sentiments. I found that middle managers employed three readiness framing strategies: (1) diagnostic framing centered on change discrepancy; (2) prognostic framing focused on change appropriateness; and (3) motivational framing concentrated on efficacy, support, and personal valence. Additionally, middle managers were found to perform episodic and everyday actions to reinforce their change readiness frames.