The impact of organizational change on the perceptions of UK managers change

Les Worrall, Carole L. Parkes, Cary L. Cooper

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Redundancy, delayering, downsizing, and various other forms of organizational change have become increasingly prevalent. This article focuses on the impact of different forms of organizational change on managers' perceptions of the organizations they work within and the comparison between changes that involve redundancy and/or delayering and those that do not involve such changes. The literature has many accounts of the negative effects associated with redundancy and delayering, but are these effects unique to these types of change or are they a consequence of negative experiences of a range of organizational changes? Hypotheses were tested to assess, first, whether there are differences between different levels of management, notably between directors and nondirectors in the way they perceive organizational change, second, to assess how change has affected managers' perceptions of their organizations and their working lives, and third, to explore if different forms of change are associated with differences in managers' perceptions of their organizations “as a place to work”. Hypotheses were tested with data from a cross-sectional survey with 830 managers from the UK. Organizational changes include cost reduction and culture change programmes, delayering, mergers/demergers, outsourcing, redundancy programmes, and contract/ temporary workers. The analyses reported here indicate clearly that specific forms of change are associated with managers' reports of their experiences at work; some forms of change (notably redundancy and delayering) seem to have particularly damaging implications for managers' experiences in the workplace. The analyses also show that there is a difference in the way directors and nondirectors perceive the changes. Finally, the article considers strategies for ameliorating the effects of change including the role of HR.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)139-163
Number of pages25
JournalEuropean Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2004


  • redundancy
  • delayering
  • downsizing
  • organizational change
  • managers' perceptions
  • negative experiences


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