Organisational change in Queensland small and medium size enterprises (SMEs)

Masters Thesis


Poole, Nicci. 2009. Organisational change in Queensland small and medium size enterprises (SMEs). Masters Thesis Master of Business (Research). University of Southern Queensland.
Title

Organisational change in Queensland small and medium size enterprises (SMEs)

TypeMasters Thesis
Authors
AuthorPoole, Nicci
SupervisorWiesner, Retha
Institution of OriginUniversity of Southern Queensland
Qualification NameMaster of Business (Research)
Number of Pages209
Year2009
Abstract

[Abstract]A substantial amount of change management research exists internationally and in Australia in relation to the causes, processes and outcomes of organisational change in large organisations. However this does not reflect the change scenarios in SMEs. Furthermore, the academic and professional discipline of organisational change in Australia, while well-researched in some areas, remains embryonic when translated
to SMEs in a dynamic environment. Very few large scale state-wide and national surveys have been conducted in Australia. This study is filling the theoretical gap in
relation to the theory and practice relating to the nature, extent and characteristics of organisational change in Queensland Small and Medium Size Enterprises (SMEs).

The objective of this study was to examine the nature and extent of organisational change in Queensland SMEs. Five research questions were developed to inform this
research objective, including: What are the forces of change in Queensland SMEs?; To what extent does the main change driver (change agent) in SMEs possess effective
change management skills?; What mental models do Queensland SME managers espouse in relation to the management of organisational change?; What is the nature
and prevalence of change interventions for achieving organisational change in Queensland SMEs? ; and What is the impact of organisational size on the nature and
prevalence of organisational change in Queensland SMEs? Eleven hypotheses in relation to the last research question were developed and tested.

To answer the research questions, the study employed the use of quantitative data which was collected through a state-wide mail survey of 1000 Queensland SMEs. A
34 percent response rate was achieved. The survey was adapted from a previous validated questionnaire measuring employee management and organisational change practices in Australian SMEs.

The results indicate that by far the most important factor in the decision to introduce change in Queensland SMEs was customer expectations for quality. The survey results also show that, overall, the SMEs were able to achieve the objectives they pursued when implementing significant changes. The findings indicate that the main change drivers in Queensland SMEs possess a moderate profile in relation to change management skills. Furthermore, the findings reflect the view that managers tend to
support forms of limited employee participation and consultation.

Change practices are only moderately represented in Australian SMEs. Taken together with low participation of employees in the decision to employ these changes; low levels of union membership; a low presence of specialist HR managers in SMEs; and the fact that the majority of SMEs that do have written strategic plans do not use it to develop operational plans and drive day to day operations; a ‘transforming’ scenario in Queensland SMEs is unlikely. However, one very positive trend is the achievement by the majority of SMEs of change objectives pursued. Nevertheless, the fact that the mental models of Queensland SMEs favoured managerial prerogative is of more significance for the effectiveness of both the management of employees and the performance of SMEs.

The findings show that organisational size is significant for the factors important in the introduction of organisational change, however size is not particularly significant in relation to the objectives pursued and achieved in the introduction of organisational change. Furthermore, size is also not significant in relation to the extent to which the main change driver (change agent) in SMEs possesses effective change management skills, and the mental models that Queensland SME managers espouse in relation to the management of organisational change. In contrast with these findings, the analysis suggests that organisational size is significant for the prevalence of change interventions/practices, with medium organisations employing change interventions to a significant greater extent. The thesis concludes with commentary on the practical implications for SME managers and policy and several directions for future research.

Keywordsorganizational change; organizational size; small and medium size enterprises; Queensland
ANZSRC Field of Research 2020350716. Small business organisation and management
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