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Participation in and employee attitude toward organizational change : a case study on strategic change at George Pearson Centre Clay, Nancy Margaret


The British Columbia Rehabilitation Society (B.C. Rehab)recently approved a strategic plan which, when implemented, will change the organization's delivery of services to British Columbians with disabilities. In addition to a review of the literature to determine the factors influencing employees’ participation in the strategic change process and their attitudes to it, this case study employs two primary methods of inquiry. Firstly, B.C. Rehab's strategy development process is identified and examined through perusal of B.C. Rehab documents. Secondly, a self-administered mail questionnaire surveys employees' attitudes toward the strategic change effort and their participation in the planning. Results reveal that the organization followed a corporate planning model of strategic change; strategy formulation was accomplished through strategic planning. This method of strategy formation is consistent with B.C. Rehab's traditional structure and its apparent adherence to hierarchical authority. Results reveal differential opportunity to participate in strategic planning according to organizational role. Those in professional/management roles report greater opportunity to participate than those in non-professional designations. More impoverished understanding of the strategic plan and weaker overall agreement with the organization’s five strategic goals are reported by the non-professional group. Employees' concerns about the strategic plan relate to feelings of uncertainty about their future with the organization. In addition to their prediction of its being the most difficult to implement, staff report a high degree of ambivalence to the goal to move to a "consumer-driven" framework. Respondents assess employees' overall attitude toward the strategic plan as ambivalent. The results lend support to organizational models which encourage employee participation. However, it is concluded that several elements, including the organization's cultures, its structure and politics, interact to systematically pre-determine employees' participation in decision-making processes.

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