Radical change within highly technical engineering organisations : the role of social identification

Nguyen, Lynda (2008) Radical change within highly technical engineering organisations : the role of social identification. In Jinji, Goa, Lee, Jay, Ni, Jun, Ma, Lin, & Mathew, Joseph (Eds.) 3rd World Congress on Engineering Asset Management and Intelligent Maintenance Systems Conference (WCEAM-IMS 2008): Engineering Asset Management – A Foundation for Sustainable Development, 27 – 30 October 2008, Beijing, China.


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This paper reports on the initial findings of a longitudinal study exploring the influence of technological and structural change on technical and engineering personnel. Research has found that change of this nature can threaten the belief system, assumptions, and identity of the employee [1]. Despite that, a lack of understanding remains as to how this may impact on the individual [2]. Adopting the psychological construct of social identification [3], this study explores employees' 1) the development of social identity based on the model proposed by Amiot, de la Sablonniere, Terry, & Smith [4] and 2) the ability to identify with the social and organisational group during and post transformation. Using a qualitative approach, a series of focus group and semi-structured interviews were conducted with technical and engineering personnel employed within a nuclear research and production facility. This facility had recently constructed a new plant and the challenges faced by the workforce in adapting to a new facility, technology and structural arrangements provided an excellent opportunity to measure both perceptions of the change and identification. Results from Time 1 measurement shows that technological and structural change disrupted employee's sense of social identity. In addition, employees also showed that such change also had the capacity to decrease their level of identification with the organisation and workgroups. Further, this study demonstrates that although the adoption of new technology and organisational restructuring is the norm within highly technical and engineering workplaces, organisations must consider the humanistic aspects, pre, during and post change, to ensure that employees continue to feel engaged with their work group and organisation.

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ID Code: 15609
Item Type: Conference Paper
Refereed: Yes
Additional URLs:
Keywords: Technological Change, Structural Change, Technical Personnel, Social Identity, Behaviour
ISBN: 9781848822160
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > COMMERCE MANAGEMENT TOURISM AND SERVICES (150000) > BUSINESS AND MANAGEMENT (150300) > Organisational Planning and Management (150312)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > COMMERCE MANAGEMENT TOURISM AND SERVICES (150000) > BUSINESS AND MANAGEMENT (150300) > Innovation and Technology Management (150307)
Divisions: Current > Research Centres > Australian Centre for Business Research
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > QUT Business School
Current > Research Centres > CRC Integrated Engineering Asset Management (CIEAM)
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2008 Springer
Copyright Statement: This is the author-version of the work. Conference proceedings published, by Springer Verlag, will be available via SpringerLink.
http://www.springerlink.com SpringerLink
Deposited On: 13 Nov 2008 00:00
Last Modified: 03 Mar 2011 05:46

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