Education, Empowerment and Communication (EEC

Education, Empowerment
and Communication (EEC)
as Drivers of Managing Change
Rohini Sharma1
Chandan Kumar Sahoo2
Although corporate jargons like employee education, empowerment and communication are frequently
used by the top management, it rarely translates into an inherent part of change management. Using
organizational-level data from single site case study, an attempt has been made to impress upon the
fact that these popular jargons when applied in true sense can become potent tools in managing people side of change successfully. On the basis of collection of responses from 516 respondents through
a well-structured questionnaire, both executives and non-executives, a model for successfully managing change has been proposed and validated through structured equation modelling to indicate that
people’s skill and competencies developed consistently through education to meet the emerging technological changes and challenges; their alignment, involvement and empowerment in respective areas of
work and persistent communication significantly affect the outcome of change initiatives.
Education, empowerment, communication, managing change
Today, uncertainty is a prominent and threatening feature on the external landscape (Keller, 2008). The
old, genteel, stable oligopolies that defined competition during the twentieth century are rapidly
restructuring. In their place, the emerging markets are fraught with uncertainty, diverse global players,
rapid technological change, widespread price wars, and seemingly endless reorganization (Ilinitch et al.,
1996). Given increasingly turbulent environment, a study by Bowman and Singh (1993) and Bowman
et al. (1999) rightly suggests that change is a complex and multidimensional phenomenon which includes
Management and Labour Studies
39(2) 174–186
© 2014 XLRI Jamshedpur, School of
Business Management
& Human Resources
SAGE Publications
DOI: 10.1177/0258042X14558183
Corresponding author:
Rohini Sharma, Post Doctoral Fellow, NIT Rourkela, Rourkela, Sundergarh, Odisha, India.
E-mail: [email protected]
Post Doctoral Fellow, NIT Rourkela, Rourkela, Sundergarh, Odisha, India.
Associate Professor, School of Management, National Institute of Technology, Rourkela.
Sharma and Sahoo 175
such outcomes as productivity improvement, cost reduction, increased shareholder value or a better
alignment of the organization with the changing environment. But, eminent researchers have also
established the fact that unsuccessful implementation of strategic change can lead to catastrophic
consequences and organizations complacent to change will quickly become ‘corporate dinosaur’
(Hofer and Schendel, 1978; Lawler and Galbraith, 1994). Thus, this growing body of research warrants
dissection under the magnifying glass as 70 per cent of the change programmes fail (Hammer and
Champny, 1993; Higgs and Rowland, 2011; Kotter, 1990).
Studies also reveal that in the twenty-first century organizations, change processes have been
conceptualized in a variety of ways, but the manner in which management treats and involves employees
during change has received the greatest amount of attention and has been shown to be powerful
determinant of individuals’ reaction to major organizational changes (Beer, 1980; Brockner et al., 1994;
Lind and Tyler, 1988). Presumably reflecting the importance of people during change, recent reviews
show that quality of communication (Miller and Monge, 1985; Robertson et al., 1993; Wanberg and
Banas, 2000), participation, involvement and empowerment of employees (Abrahamson, 2000; Bordia
et al., 2004) and training (Kotter and Schlesinger, 2008; Ledez, 2008) are important antecedents to
people side of change management.
Significance of the Study
Acknowledging that though management invests a significant amount of money in creating the planned
change, little attention was given to education, empowerment and communication (EEC) of people
needed for its successful implementation. Thus, the present study attempts to identify few of the most
critical factors and then hypothesizes and tests how they jointly contribute towards very success of
change initiative.
Overview of Literature
Organizational change, frequent restructuring, and ‘downsizing’ have become accepted features
of work in modern occupational environments (Nelson et al., 1995). These changes have been triggered
primarily by global competitive pressures, enhancements in technology and a demanding customerdriven market (Herriot and Pemberton, 1995; Sparrow, 1998; Ulrich, 1998). The concept, organizational
change, implies an attempt or series of attempts to modify an organization’s structure, goals, technology
or work tasks (Carnall, 1986). Today, the organizations can no longer afford to sit still, believing that the
attributes that constituted success so far will necessarily generate sustained levels of profitability in
the future (Tyson and Witcher, 1994).
It has to be understood that unsuccessful implementation of strategic change can lead to disastrous
consequences and organizations may no longer fit the current environment (Lawler and Galbraith,
1994). Moreover, it is noteworthy that theoretical arguments suggest that employees’ lack of adaptability
to change has been found to be a crucial reason for high failure rate of organizational change
efforts. Hence, in-depth investigation of number of studies establishes that people side of change
especially an employee’s practical intelligence and creative behaviour, along with contextual factors
such as trust in top management and history of change, and process factors such as participation in
decision making and quality of communication significant

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