Handling Employee Negativity in an Organization- Review of Case study

The Wanous study (as in referred article) brings out the importance of considering negativity of employees during an organizational change and find remedies for it. Its core focus is on cynicism, defining it as “pessimistic outlook for successful change and placing blame on the managers and union leaders who are responsible for the change” (Wanous et. al, Jun 2000). The article argues that other books and studies don’t focus on what is cynicism all about, why is it formed and continue to exist in an organization, its effect on organizational change, how does individual employee motivation and efforts is linked to it and general rules of thumb for a manager to reduce cynicism during organizational change.

According to me, the large unionized firm that was selected as the sample group, was a prefect example for the topic that the authors were trying to sell. In a unionized firm, employee power and voice is tremendous. This sets up environment to study the behavior and effects of individual employee resistance and how it can be managed to reduce its negative effects. In addition, the sampling group consisted of varied employee, supervisor and union behavior, strong motivational factors that affected employees efforts, increased urge for “dispositional attribution” (which is the cause for blaming superiors), grievance filing and varied performance to dollar relationships that supported the study of cynicism about organizational change (CAOC).

These factors lead to the effective study and derivation of the following outcomes that are targeted at dealing with COAC –

  • All changes should be effectively communicated to all employees to reduce pessimism.
  • Allowing greater employee participation in change process decisions and making them understand the outcomes will make them blame less
  • Managers should acknowledge past errors and try to see from employee’s eyes to understand the root cause of resistance and blame.

The article proclaims that it is based on the “action-research approach” (Likert, 1967), which focusses on individual employee efforts. So, given such a sample that has the above described qualities to be analyzed and studied, its logical that it lead to the intended outcomes that focuses on mitigating COAC.

1. Wanous, et al. (2000). Group & Organization Management 132-153 25, no. 2, p. 132-153. Copyright Sage Publications, Inc.