New management and old employees: the implications of group differentiation on employment relations

2017-06-07T05:20:33Z (GMT) by Bryant, Melanie
In organisations, groups exist as a product of organisational structure. However, individuals are attracted to groups for reasons associated with their role in the workplace as well as gaining opportunities to meet socioemotional needs. In the Latrobe Region organisational groups have changed as a result of organisational change. Focusing in particular on the introduction of new management teams into organisations, this paper seeks to explore employee and management groups in the workplace. Qualitative data collected throughout the course of this research found that the introduction of new management teams in the Latrobe Region was concurrent with the development of boundaries between management and employees. Research participants argue that the development of such boundaries has adversely affected employment relations by not involving employees in organisational processes they were once included in. Using social identity theory, the rationale behind inter-group boundaries is explored. The lack of employee participation in organisational operations has led to demise in relations between new management teams and existing employees. Participants believe that their skills and knowledge of implementing change have been overlooked and that position power has decreased subsequent to the introduction of new managers. The data also indicates that employees feel pressured to display appropriate behaviour in the company of management and that constant inter-group differentiation has adversely impacted on morale and motivation to work towards organisational goals. Managers need to be aware of the implications of boundary development between themselves and employees. While differentiation between these groups exists, it may be questionable as to how long-term positive employment relations can be fostered.