Middle managers' lived experience of resistance to change at a government facility: A phenomenological study

by Pleasure, Deirdre Renee, Ph.D., CAPELLA UNIVERSITY, 2016, 213 pages; 10137504


With organizational change, middle managers are in the unique position of being both change recipients and change agents. Much of the literature on middle managers and resistance to organizational change is prescriptive in nature; focused on their role as change agents while their response as change recipients has been largely unaddressed. The purpose of the study was to explore middle manager experience of resistance to change, with a focus on First Line Managers (FLM). The theoretical background for the study was Bandura’s social cognitive theory with its emphasis on agency and self-efficacy. The study design was qualitative and conducted in accordance with Amadeo Giorgi’s descriptive phenomenological methodology. Findings suggest that FLM experience of resistance to change may be reflective of knowledge, skills, expertise, predicated on commitment to being effective as FLMs, and not resistance reflective of personal disposition and a refusal to accept change. Thus, it is recommended that when FLM response to change is contrary to expectations, that it be treated as valuable feedback providing information relevant to the change initiative. The implication for positive social change is the perception of resistance from FLMs, when the response is inclusive of their operating context, as reflective of agency and self-efficacy and supportive of change directives.

AdviserAntonio Santonastasi
Source TypeDissertation
SubjectsManagement; Organizational behavior
Publication Number10137504

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