Talking about change: Understanding employee responses through qualitative research

Melanie Bryant

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

19 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose ' The purpose of this paper is to focus on the understanding that can be gained about employees' use of voice as a response to organisational change using qualitative research and, in particular, narrative analysis. Narrative analysis of voice can provide insight into why voice is used and how voice differs from resistance. Design/methodology/approach ' This paper uses a constructivist approach to study the interpretations of participants and explores the qualitative research interview as a method of data collection that enables participants to report experiences of organisational change. Thematic narrative analysis explores inductive themes that are embedded within participants' stories. Findings ' Findings suggest that qualitative research approaches are useful in exploring individual interpretations of voice, such as the forms in which voice is used, reasons why voice is used, and participant reports of management reactions to voice. Findings from the narrative analysis suggests that voice may be confused with resistance in the workplace and is likely to lead to negative reactions from management, even though both the literature and participants differentiate between intentions of voice and resistance to change. Research limitations/implications ' The paper calls for further research concerning employee intentions surrounding the use of voice as well as management perceptions of employees' use of voice. Originality/value ' Qualitative studies can explore differences between voice and resistance through unlocking voices of employees who are marginalised in management literature. Such studies also derive feedback from staff about the effects of change programmes, thus providing managers with information from which communication/participation strategies could be tailored to individual organisations.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)246-258
Number of pages13
JournalManagement Decision
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2006

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