Identification of Stakeholders in an Organisational Change Process

Abstract

This is a fictional case examining the consequences of an engineering organisation that adopted a new marketing identity based on customer service and the activities it set into practice to influence both existing and new staff to also adopt this new organisational identity. Previously, the emphasis was on engineering skills. Though these skills were continuously maintained and regularly updated, they became secondary in importance after adoption of its new identity. The case examines the company’s approach to introducing this new mindset in all employees and thus achieving congruence of objectives. It presents how the organisation, a Hong Kong subsidiary of a multinational corporation, introduced the new identity of the parent company and further developed a new strong organisational identity within their operations. Activities such as setting up a steering committee to overview the change process and a task force to plan and implement the change process, identify stakeholders, and establish change tactics are described, and their impacts are investigated. Among all these activities, stakeholder identification is one of the crucial prerequisites so that organizational communication and changes can be targeted to the right respondents. This case study offers a few effective and practical ways that can be applied in different situations to identify stakeholders in an organizational change process. Students will need to consider the problems organisations face when pursuing change to their organisational identity, what this means to their stakeholders, and what strategies to pursue in order to develop organisational identification.

Case

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this case study, students should be able to:

  • understand the importance of organisational identification;
  • understand organisational identification as part of an organisational change process;
  • understand the stakeholders involved in an organisational change process;
  • identify the possible needs and concerns of employees during an organisational change process.

Using some recommended analytical tools, the exercises help students to:

  • identify and assess the importance of various stakeholders in a change process; and
  • develop strategies that can effectively promote and develop organisational identification or a change process.

Introduction

This case reports on the actions of the Hong Kong subsidiary of a multinational corporation, which, before 2008, had as its main business the installation of electrical and mechanical equipment in new and upgraded buildings in Hong Kong. The reputation of the company had been grown and maintained over the years as a manufacturer of high-quality, precision-engineering equipment. However, in 2008 a change in management at headquarters led to the appointment of a new CEO, and shortly afterwards a change of direction and strategic intent for the organisation. Specifically, the former emphasis on high-quality products and precision engineering was augmented with a new customer focus, with an emphasis on providing the best solutions to customers based on their needs. This new focus became the predominant core of the business. The company was re-established with a new set of values and strategies, focusing on developing and upgrading their customer liaison activities to build good relationships with existing and potential customers and exploring how customer needs could be fully satisfied.

This new direction, developed and driven from the company headquarters in Europe, was intended to lead to a new conceptualisation of its identity, articulated by the headquarters and transferred to its subsidiaries throughout the globe. Headquarters conducted various workshops with subsidiary managers to communicate the new values and strategic intent. They provided materials such as videos, PowerPoint presentations, posters, and workbooks for each subsidiary. However, the subsidiaries were expected to develop their own policy strategies to introduce and communicate the new organisational identity to their staff and develop an organisational identification or stronger bond between the members and the organisation.

Given that the aim of the proposed transformation was to adopt a new organisational identity that staff would then internalise, it is appropriate here to define how this aim was conceptualised. Albert and Whetten (1985, p. 264) define organisational identity as the collective understanding of organisational members on ‘Who are we as an organisation?’ or ‘What do we stand for?’ Organisational identity may be understood as the central, distinctive, and enduring characteristic of an organisation. It always shapes the organisation’s stereotypic, relevant, and meaningful attributes, such as its value and strategic intent. Such attributes are widely shared within groups (Haslam, 1997; Tajfel, 1982) and distinguish in-group from out-group members (Maass, Montalcini & Biciotti, 1998). Individuals who play a role in an organisation are likely to share some similar attributes of personal identity and organisational identity, such as those regarding integrity, safety, and work–life balance. The larger the number of identity perceptions shared among individuals, the stronger the organisational identity and the greater the potential for identification (Sluss & Ashforth, 2008).

Identification is referred to as ‘the perception of oneness or belongingness’ (Ashforth & Mael, 1989, p. 21) or an alignment of individual and organisational values (Pratt, 1998). Identification is developed over time through the interaction of organisation and individual so that the extent of sameness between them and between individuals can be developed and maintained. Organisational identification implies that an individual adopts the organisation’s stereotypic attributes as his or her own and behaves appropriately towards these attributes (Haslam, Postmes & Ellemers, 2003). Furthermore, such stereotypic attributes facilitate an individual being judged both externally or internally as belonging to a particular group. In-group members who have a strong organisational identification will engage themselves in a process of self-stereotyping and behave in line with the defined characteristics, norms and values of a particular group or organisation to internalise the organisational identity (Haslam et al., 2003). Organisational identification therefore implies internalisation of the goals of collectives and the degrees of perceived congruence between individual identity and organisational identity (Kim, 2011). The organisational identification process is described as the iterative interaction between individual and organisational members over time, which results in the integration of identities (Ashforth, Harrison & Corley, 2008). As such, organisational identification is developed through a dynamic process over time and is influenced by both external and internal stakeholders (Ashforth & Saks, 1996). The following sections explain the action process that the company has experienced for more than three years with the intention to change the organisational identity and develop organisational identification for the organisation.

Action Processes That Lead to Change of Organisational Identity and Organisational Identification

The Hong Kong subsidiary adopted the change process originally devised by Jones and Brazzel (2012) and extended it using Lewin’s (1951) three-step change model into a framework with five consecutive stages: (1) diagnosing the organisation; (2) determining the desired future stage (unfreezing); (3) implementing action (moving); (4) evaluating the action; and (5) institutionalising the action process (refreezing) as one complete action cycle. The first action cycle took almost two years to complete and each of the stages in the change process lasted from three months to a year. The Hong Kong subsidiary has established special work structures to plan and execute the change process. The management team of the Hong Kong subsidiary took a leading role and provided the necessary resources for the action processes. After the completion of the first action cycle, the result would be inputs for the second cycle, which would go through those five stages again. The second action cycle actually took another 1.5 years to complete. Table 1 provides a summary of the first cycle of the action process of the Hong Kong subsidiary.

Table 1.Summary of the Hong Kong Subsidiary Action Process

Timeline

Action stages

Action process activities

First action cycle

September to December 2010

Diagnosing the organisation

  • Quantitative survey on organisational identification
  • Formation of steering committee
  • Workshops to clarify the organisational identity and current status
  • Workshops to determine stakeholders

December 2010 to April 2011

Determining the desired future stage

  • Workshops of steering committee, managers and supervisors to determine goals and values, future stage, etc.

May 2011 to April 2012

Implementing action

  • Formation of task force for organisational identification action planning and implementation
  • Identity seminars, roadshows, newsletters, visual displays, etc., to communicate the new organisational identity

April to June 2012

Evaluating the action

  • Quantitative survey on organisational identification
  • Evaluation of survey results by steering committee and task force and to discuss key implications
  • Evaluation on the performance of organisational identification actions

June to July 2012

Institutionalising action process

  • Workshops by steering committee and task force to determine actions to retain, routinize, and abandon
Stage 1: Quantitative Survey

The new organisational identity of the Hong Kong subsidiary as a service-oriented company was the desired future stage that the organisation ultimately wanted to achieve. Data for the longitudinal study were collected over three years. The management team of the company considered that a rational action process approach should be adopted to assess the effectiveness of the action processes on organisational identification development. Therefore, quantitative surveys on organisational identification perception were conducted prior to the action process and at the end of each action cycle to evaluate the effectiveness of the action process, and the results were used as part of inputs for the next action cycle.

The management team started the diagnosis stage with a survey conducted in late 2010. All employees of the company were distributed a hard copy of the questionnaires and were introduced to the purpose of the survey by written instructions and guidelines attached to the questionnaire. Responding was entirely voluntary and all responses were collected in a collection box placed in the office reception area and other work stations to allow anonymous responses. The survey was based on a seven-point Likert-type scale ranging from 1 (strongly disagree) to 7 (strongly agree), used to explore employee perceptions of their current organisational identification with the company. The six items in the survey were taken by the management team from a study of organisational identification perception by Mael and Ashforth (1992), as the measures are generally considered the key parameters that reflect organisational identification perception. The six items are as follows.

  • When someone criticises our organisation, it feels like a personal insult.
  • I am very interested in what others think about our organisation.
  • When I talk about our organisation, I usually say ‘we’ rather than ‘they’.
  • Our organisation’s success is my success.
  • When someone praises our organisation, it feels like a personal compliment.
  • If a story in the media was to criticise our organisation, I would feel embarrassed.

Similar quantitative surveys, based on the same items, were conducted after each of the implementation processes in each action cycle. The survey results helped to provide management with feedback to be used in modifying planning before engaging in the next cycle of action and to inform the implementation process of subsequent cycles of action. The survey results were also later established as a formal structure of a steering committee with members from management to demonstrate commitment. The pre- and post-implementation surveys aimed to explore the possible changes of employee perceptions of organisational identification during the action processes.

Formation of the Steering Committee

To demonstrate commitment of the changes, management of the Hong Kong subsidiary, immediately following receipt of the directive, set up a five-member steering committee composed entirely of local senior management members. The managing director was appointed as chairperson. The steering committee was established to plan, implement, and evaluate the action strategies to enable employees to associate with the new values and strategies, and adopt the new identity imposed by the headquarters. It was charged with managing the process of embedding the new identity. The steering committee met every Monday morning to review the action plan strategy and actively discuss, review, and record how they should continue to implement this new direction imposed by the headquarters.

Clarification of the Organisational Identity and Its Current Status

Immediately after its formation, the committee conducted a communication meeting with all managers and supervisors to deliver the new sets of values and strategies as recommended by the parent company. The participants were asked to evaluate the changes and identify the cultural and institutional differences between the Hong Kong subsidiary and headquarters. During the meetings, the steering committee selected participants from each of the key divisions and departments to join the identity workshop as an organized brainstorming session. These participants were selected due to their being more outspoken than their colleagues. The identity workshop participants collected opinions from departmental managers and supervisors on the organisational identification process.

Determine the Desired Future State

After reviewing the results of the first survey, which showed staff perception of the current situation, the steering committee decided to involve all senior managers in an identity workshop dedicated to formulating the future desired identity. The aim of the workshop was to allow senior managers to have a better understanding of the changes ahead and to help build their commitment to the organisational changes. The senior managers, together with the steering committee, were also responsible for reviewing the results of the organisational identification implementation at each key stage of the study. An identity workshop was conducted with 11 senior managers in April 2011. It started with an icebreaking session, followed by a briefing on the purpose and expected outcome of the workshop, which was to review the current state of organisational identification in the company and determine the future and desired organisational identification.

During the brainstorming exercises in the workshop, the senior managers compiled a list of characteristics that could represent the future and desired organisational identification. Discussions were conducted and the previously identified characteristics were shortlisted, grouped, and categorized. Finally, the senior managers established a main theme that summarised all the characteristics that have been identified. This main theme became the new direction and strategic intent for the Hong Kong subsidiary, and could be framed as a more localised and understandable message of ‘What is professionalism to you?’ They then selected the earlier-identified characteristics that could better represent professionalism and created five key messages to reflect those characteristics, which were simple, straightforward, and easy to understand: ‘We act as a team’; ‘We deliver what we promise’; ‘We do our best’; ‘We are responsible’; and ‘We keep on improving’. Starting each message with ‘We’ included both the company and individual employees as part of the company. The workshop also concluded that a task force should be established for more detailed implementation of the organisational identification strategy. Nominees from key divisions and departments from different hierarchies were proposed by the senior managers who participated in the identity workshop. These nominees were familiarised with the new values and strategies, the future stage of desired identity developed in the workshop, and the responsibilities of the task force. They were then invited to join the task force on a voluntary basis, so that their participation was a sincere expression of their willingness and commitment.

Develop an Integrated Action Strategy

Action strategy development was perhaps the most important stage in the action process, as it determined the organisation identification implementation strategy for the Hong Kong subsidiary. The steering committee decided to involve middle management, who knew better the needs of the frontline staff. A communication meeting was conducted in March 2011 to present the new organisational identity to all managers, followed by dividing the managers into groups with an appropriate mix of divisions and conducting a brainstorming workshop that was facilitated by members of the management team. This workshop aimed to get the managers involved in the development of the organisational identification implementation strategy. The AIDA model of Strong’s (1925) sales process was adopted as the framework for organisational identification communication. AIDA is the abbreviation of the sequential stages of communication: A, Awareness; I, Interest; D, Desire; and A, Action.

In line with Pascale, Millemann, and Gioja’s (1997) opinion that employee participation would prevent resistance and encourage a welcoming and creative approach to change, the managers agreed that their participation would facilitate a sense of ownership and the likely successful implementation of the organisational identification. This also fostered understanding among the Hong Kong subsidiary staff of the reasons for the change and established the grounds for employee collaboration during the action process.

Formation of the Task Force

The task force was formally established with 12 members from different divisions and departments, and task force meetings were held to work out the implementation plan for the approval of the steering committee. The task force felt that to create awareness of the organisational identification, communications should be more frequent and designed to reach all staff. A weekly internal newsletter and short messages sent to the smartphones of employees were selected as key tools to deliver organisational identification messages, as each employee had access to the company intranet, as well as a company e-mail account and a mobile phone sim card. An editorial committee was established to ensure these important messages were well planned and would achieve the AIDA effect.

By this stage, the organisational identification implementation process was well underway. The task force had conducted biweekly meetings to review progress. Between meetings, task force members and office staff representatives contacted frontline representatives, either by phone or face to face, and collected their feedback on the organisational identification activities. This feedback was reviewed in each task force meeting and became inputs to the next activities. The meetings were recorded in writing and meeting minutes were put on a common server that was accessible to the steering committee and task force.

Evaluate the Action and Revisit the Issues

The key process of organisational identification implementation – evaluation – started in May 2011. Prior to the organisational identification implementation, a ‘pre-change’ questionnaire survey of the employees was conducted in October and November 2010. As described earlier, questionnaire surveys were also conducted as each of the cycles of the organisational identification implementation process were completed, to evaluate the effectiveness of the implementation. To ensure there was an appropriate comparison- and perception-tracking mechanism, the same questions were used in all surveys.

Institutionalize the Action Process

In June 2012, the steering committee conducted a full-day evaluation session to evaluate the appropriateness of the action process, assess the effectiveness of the steering committee and the task force and compare the outcomes and with the expected results of the activities and communication, as well as to review the success of the organisational identification implementation. It found that the strategies and actions instituted by the steering committee had been effective, and some of them (e.g., communication by electronic means) had been adopted as company policies, procedures, and routines. The task force and steering committee also revisited and updated issues such as constraints, resources, and organisational identification perceptions to identify any needed modifications to the organisational identification strategy before proceeding to the next action cycle. Among all the constraints and resources addressed by the task force and steering committee during the evaluation session, the correct identification of stakeholders was considered to be the most important as the Hong Kong subsidiary could decide the roles and participation of each stakeholder during the organisational identification implementation process. However, this general statement raises more questions than it answers, such as: Who are the stakeholders? Which stakeholders are involved in the organisational identification and which are not? What are their roles in the organisational identification process? Are there different levels of stakeholder involvement? How can we identify stakeholders and their levels of involvement? Therefore, the steering committee of the Hong Kong subsidiary carried out a comprehensive study to identify the stakeholders before the start of the organisational identification implementation process.

Stakeholder Management

The concept of stakeholders in an organisation was introduced by Freeman as ‘any group or individual who can affect or is affected by the achievement of the organisation’s objectives’ (1994, p.46). Stakeholders affect the organisation through their power to influence the company, or more precisely their influence exerted on other individuals who have a relationship and stakes in the company (Savage, Nix, Whitehead & Blair, 1991; Thompson et al., 1991). By achieving organisational objectives, the stakeholders make necessary changes in their interests, stakes, and behaviours in order to cope with the processes leading to the achievement of these objectives (Clarkson, 1995). Stakeholder theory suggests that any organisational development actions shall start with stakeholder identification so that managers can identify the entities they need to pay attention to during decision-making (Mitchell, Agle & Wood, 1997). The Hong Kong subsidiary understood the importance of stakeholders and relied on their correct identification. Identification of stakeholders is so crucial that it determines who should be involved, their level of involvement, and respective roles to be performed. The Hong Kong subsidiary developed tools, such as a relationship matrix, to identify the stakeholders in the organisational identification process.

Identification of Stakeholders

The steering committee of the Hong Kong subsidiary considered that stakeholders and the company represented by management were interdependent. For instance, stakeholders build social relationships with each other while the company provides the necessary environment that develops social relationship and interactions. Furthermore, stakeholders influence each other by formal and informal communications, and the company provides the necessary information and power to stakeholders to facilitate such communication. After a few discussions, the steering committee concluded that the interdependence of the influencing powers between stakeholders and the company were important in the organisational identification process and had to be examined in detail. The steering committee further elaborated on the influencing power of stakeholders and the company as (1) the influencing power of stakeholder groups that can exert power on other stakeholder groups in the company; and (2) the influencing power of the company (represented by the management groups) that can exert power on different stakeholder groups. Subsequently, the steering committee established two parameters that could measure the influencing power of stakeholder groups and the company. All stakeholder groups were evaluated with these two parameters so that each stakeholder group could be identified with (1) their level of influence on other groups, and (2) the level of influence of the company on each of the stakeholder groups. This evaluation mechanism allowed the steering committee to identify the stakeholder groups to which the company had to pay greater attention.

The evaluation results justified whether the stakeholder groups could play an active role as influencers in the organisational identification process. Among all the influencers identified, top management plays an irreplaceable role. Top management is usually represented by the subsidiary manager or the managing director, who acts as the figurehead of the organisation. They are the role models and opinion leaders who can exert a strong influence on other employees during organisational identification. Nevertheless, employees in the lower hierarchies are also key influencers of organisational identification. They are able to understand the needs and lifestyles of their co-workers; therefore, they are more able to design and conduct communications that can be easier to be understood and accepted by frontline employees.

The steering committee determined that all employees at all hierarchy levels, from top management to frontline staff, could at certain stages of the change process act as influencers. The steering committee devised a list of stakeholders or stakeholder groups, which included:

  • employees’ family members;
  • supervisors;
  • co-workers;
  • managers;
  • directors;
  • subsidiary manager (managing director);
  • competitors;
  • customers; and
  • suppliers.

The steering committee decided to adopt a more rational approach with a quantitative mechanism to determine the influencing power of each of the stakeholders identified. Each individual stakeholder or stakeholder group was assessed by their (1) level of influence on others and (2) level of influence of the company on stakeholder groups. A 0–10 scale (with 0 as no influence, 5 as average, and 10 as most significant) was determined by the steering committee and task force for each of the stakeholders, based on the two evaluation criteria after a series of discussions and debates. Table 2 shows the summary of the scores.

Table 2. Summary of Scores for Each Stakeholder or Stakeholder Group

Stakeholders or stakeholder group

Family members

Supervisors

Co-workers

Managers

Senior managers

Subsidiary manager/managing director

Competitors

Customers

Suppliers

1. Level of influence of stakeholders on others

8.5

8.8

7.0

5.5

4.8

5.8

2.0

2.5

1.5

2. Level of influence of company on stakeholders

1.7

3.7

3.7

5.0

6.3

8.0

0.7

3.3

6.3

According to the results shown in Table 2, the highest scores were obtained by supervisors, indicating their stronger influencing power towards subordinates. Certainly, supervisors who have day-to-day interactions with their subordinates might be regarded as more trustworthy and therefore able to exert an even stronger influence on others than people at the top. One might anticipate that the leading roles in organisational identification would not be confined to the management level. Top management, with their position of power, were ideally placed to manage, monitor and evaluate the organisational identification strategy, while employees from other levels were better placed to execute the strategy due to greater knowledge of the needs of their colleagues.

The stakeholders and their influence established a relationship matrix by plotting different stakeholders or stakeholder groups onto the different quadrants of the matrix (Figure 1). The relationship matrix illustrated who were the key stakeholders and their importance in the organisational identification process according to the potential of the organisation to manage relationships with these stakeholders and the potential of the stakeholders to influence others.

Figure 1. Relationship Matrix of Stakeholder Groups in the Hong Kong Subsidiary
Figure

Using the relationship matrix, the Hong Kong subsidiary identified different groups of stakeholders that could be mobilised as active actors in the organisational identification process. The steering committee clarified and classified the various stakeholders who could possibly play a role in the organisational identification of frontline staff as first- and second-tier stakeholder groups, used to denote their levels and sequence of participation. These groupings were accomplished from the steering committee discussions. The steering committee members decided that there was a need to establish a work structure for organisational identification. This work structure should comprise those employees who were willing to join the work group as participation in this group was supposed to be voluntary. the selected employees would benefit the process more if they had a high level of influence on others. The stakeholders who could fulfil these criteria were marked as potential nominees for the organisational identification work structure.

The managing director of the subsidiary and top managers were grouped as first-tier stakeholders, as they were considered to be members who could be easily mobilised. The subsidiary manager and top managers comprised the management team of the organisation and provided a unity of command, because in most organisational change and development processes, the management team is responsible for high-level decision-making and overseeing the process. As such, the management team has taken up the role of a steering committed during the change process. More often, a separate change team in the form of a workgroup or task force was formed with members from different departments to cope with the change process and dissolved after the task was accomplished. The Hong Kong subsidiary defined this workgroup as a task force and became the execution arm to denote its responsibility as the strategy implementer.

Building a Relationship Matrix to Facilitate Portfolio Analysis and Management Tactics

The steering committee determined that the application of the stakeholder approach by means of the relationship matrix should be further developed as a framework to generate organisational identification strategies. A direction was set for the task force so that organisational identification strategies and tactics designed later and any other changes thereafter would be on the right track. The steering committee reviewed the various tools and techniques on stakeholder mapping and proposed that the relationship matrix developed by the steering committee as the portfolio analysis for the stakeholders could be further developed into a tool for management tactics. Each of the nine quadrants of the relationship matrix denoted different relationship-crafting targets that organisational identification tactics should aim for. The steering committee also allocated a budget and resources to support the organisational identification tactics according to their expected fulfilment of these targets.

Practically, the steering committee prioritised its relationship-crafting targets based on those stakeholders who have a stronger influence on others’ organisational identification and those who are less remote and more easily mobilised. In order to develop a longer-term stakeholder strategy, a few meetings and workshops were conducted by the steering committee on the portfolio analysis of the various stakeholders. In a thorough discussion among members of the steering committee, with input from the task force and using the various quantitative data such as the ratings and scores of stakeholders, the steering committee members identified supervisors, managers, senior managers, and the divisional directors (grouped as top managers for simplicity) and subsidiary managers and managing directors as having a relatively high influence on employees’ organisational identification. These stakeholders had to be mobilised to exert their influence in a more systematic and effective way. Nevertheless, the ultimate objective of the relationship-crafting was to drive stakeholders’ impacts on organisational identification to the blue quadrant in the far-right corner of the relationship matrix (Figure 1) so that stakeholders could exert greater influence on employees under the management of the organisation.

Stakeholders who fall into the blue quadrant can exert a strong influence on employees’ organisational identification. The organisation can assume them to be leaders, champions or allies leading the organisational identification process. Stakeholders in the green quadrants are to be encouraged and empowered to take up active roles in the organisational identification process. The organisation should pursue every means to build relationships with those stakeholders with strong influence, but it currently lacks a strong relationship-building ability. In order to overcome this obstacle, the Hong Kong subsidiary organised company-wide social activities throughout the year, with regular weekly or monthly activities for social groups and other one-off events that catered for more participants. This relationship-building work encouraged the spreading of positive word-of-mouth by family members, which helped the Hong Kong subsidiary employees to strengthen their organisational identification.

The portfolio analysis and tactical development by means of the relationship matrix offer an effective application for the crafting of relationships between employees and stakeholders. The lowest left-hand quadrant (grey) in Figure 1 indicates stakeholders that have the least influence in the organisational identification process and will be left aside for future review. For those stakeholders who have an intermediate capability to influence or be influenced, there is a need to develop or maintain a good social relationship with them, with the expectation that they will become more active over time. Stakeholders who have a high capability to influence others are encouraged to be involved as actors in the organisational identification process. Those who have less capability to exert influence on others can be empowered to become more influential. The top-right corner is the ultimate stage of development of the stakeholders to become either leaders in the organisational identification process or champions or allies to support the execution of the organisational identification strategy.

The relationship matrix developed by the Hong Kong subsidiary provided concrete information and analytical results on: (1) the identification of stakeholders; (2) the assessment of the influential power of stakeholders; (3) the appropriate combination of stakeholders to form a work structure; and (4) the determination of management tactics.

Conclusion

Two key stakeholders or stakeholder groups of the Hong Kong subsidiary played key roles in the organisational identification process: (1) the management team or steering committee, which provided direction and leadership to the organisational identification process; and (2) the task force, which planned and implemented the organisational identification strategy. The stakeholders’ identification mechanism in the Hong Kong subsidiary was a comprehensive study addressing: (1) Who are the stakeholders to involve in the organisational identification process? (2) How are these stakeholders identified? (3) What are their roles? And (4), in particular, what are their respective roles in the change process? However, organisational change does not merely rely on just identifying stakeholders and planned change tactics; the success of the change process depends also on effective processes that are purpose-oriented, integrative, and continuous. Nevertheless, the correct identification of stakeholders or stakeholder groups is important as it is the prerequisite of any effective organisational change.

Discussion Questions

  • What are the possible attributes that represent organisation identity? How do these attributes help to increase the competitiveness of the organisation?
  • What are the possible behaviours of employees with strong, weak, and negative organisational identification? (Recommended analytical tool as below.)

    Behaviours of

    Levels of organisational identification

    Strong

    Weak

    Negative

    Customers

    Co-workers

    Management

    Organisation as a whole

  • What are the possible roles of different stakeholders such as the subsidiary manager or managing director, senior managers, middle managers, supervisors, frontline staff, customers, and suppliers during the organisational identification process?
  • Identify the possible stakeholders in an organisational change process. For instance: the launching of a company-wide environmental policy and procedure, the outsourcing of the information technology support services, and so on, and list them in the table below. First, take on the role of an employee, and assess the level of influence that each stakeholder will have on you during an organisational change process. Second, take on a management role and assess the level of influence that you may exert on each stakeholder during an organisational change process. (See the recommended analytical tool below; reference can be made to Table 2 in the case study.)

    Criterion

    Stakeholders or stakeholder group

    Level of influence of stakeholders on others (1–9; 1 is lowest and 9 is highest)

    Level of influence of the company (represented by management) on stakeholders (1–9; 1 is lowest and 9 is highest)

  • According to the assessment conducted so far, students can plot the stakeholders or stakeholders groups on a matrix with the above two criteria as horizontal and vertical parameters.

    Figure 2. Stakeholder Influence Matrix

    Figure

    In each of the nine quadrants, outline a strategy that you may impose on stakeholders that will assist you to develop organisational identification. For instance, you may consider the role of the stakeholders as champions or supporters, or how they build social relationships that can encourage participation, and so forth.

Further Reading

Ashforth, B. E. , Harrison, S. H. , & Corley, K. G. (2008). Identification in organisations: An examination of four fundamental questions. Journal of Management, 34, 325374.

References

Albert, S. , & Whetten, D. A. (1985). Organisational identity. Research in Organisational Behavior, 7, 263295.
Ashforth, B. E. , Harrison, S. H. , & Corley, K. G. (2008). Identification in organisations: An examination of four fundamental questions. Journal of Management, 34, 325374.
Ashforth, B. E. , & Mael, F. (1989). Social identity theory and the organization. Academy of Management Review, 14, 2039.
Ashforth, B. E. , & Saks, A. M. (1996). Socialization tactics: Longitudinal effects on newcomer adjustment. Academy of Management Journal, 39, 149178.
Clarkson, M. B. E. (1995). A stakeholder framework for analyzing and evaluating corporate social performance. Academy of Management Review, 20, 92117.
Freeman, R. E. (1994). The politics of stakeholder theory: Some future directions. Business Ethics Quarterly, 4, 409421.
Haslam, S. A. (1997). Stereotyping and social influence: Foundations of stereotype consensus. In R. Spears , P. J. Oakes , N. Ellemers , & S. A. Haslam (Eds.), The social psychology of stereotyping and group life (pp. 119143). Malden, MA: Blackwell.
Haslam, S. A. , Postmes, T. , & Ellemers, N. (2003). More than a metaphor: Organisational identity makes organisational life possible. British Journal of Management, 14, 357369.
Jones, B. B. , & Brazzel, M. (2012). The NTL handbook of organisation development and change: Principles, practices, and perspectives. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.
Kim, J. (2011, September). Control, performance management system and identification processes. Refereed proceedings of the 6th conference on performance measurement and management control, September 7–9, 2011, Nice, France.
Lewin, K. (1951). Field theory in social science: Selected theoretical papers. New York, NY: Harper & Row.
Maass, A. , Montalcini, F. , & Biciotti, E. (1998). On the dis‐confirmability of stereotypic attributes. European Journal of Social Psychology, 28, 383402.
Mael, F. , & Ashforth, B. E. (1992). Alumni and their alma mater: A partial test of the reformulated model of organisational identification. Journal of Organisational Behavior, 13, 103123.
Mitchell, R. K. , Agle, B. R. , & Wood, D. J. (1997). Toward a theory of stakeholder identification and salience: Defining the principle of who and what really counts. The Academy of Management Review, 22(4), 853886.
Pascale, R. , Millemann, M. , & Gioja, L. (1997). Changing the way we change. Harvard Business Review, 75, 127139.
Pratt, M. G. (1998). To be or not to be: Central questions in organisational identification. In D. Whetten & P. Godfrey (2003) (Eds.), Identity in organisations: Developing theory through conversations (pp. 171208). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
Savage, G. T. , Nix, T. H. , Whitehead, C. J. , & Blair, J. D. (1991). Strategies for assessing and managing organizational stakeholders. Academy of Management Executive, 5, 6175.
Sluss, D. M. , & Ashforth, B. E. (2008). How relational and organisational identification converge: Processes and conditions. Organisation Science, 19, 807823.
Strong, E. K.Jr. (1925). Theories of selling. Journal of Applied Psychology, 9, 7586.
Tajfel, H. (1982). Social psychology of intergroup relations. Annual Review of Psychology, 33, 139.
Thompson, J. K. , Wartick, S. L. , & Smith, H. L. (1991). Integrating corporate social performance and stakeholder management: Implications for a research agenda in small business. Research in Corporate Social Performance and Policy, 12, 207230.

This case was prepared for inclusion in SAGE Business Cases primarily as a basis for classroom discussion or self-study, and is not meant to illustrate either effective or ineffective management styles. Nothing herein shall be deemed to be an endorsement of any kind. This case is for scholarly, educational, or personal use only within your university, and cannot be forwarded outside the university or used for other commercial purposes.

2023 SAGE Publications, Ltd. All Rights Reserved

You are not authorized to view Teaching Notes. Please contact your librarian for access or sign in to your existing instructor profile.
locked icon

Sign in to access this content

Get a 30 day FREE TRIAL

  • Watch videos from a variety of sources bringing classroom topics to life
  • Read modern, diverse business cases
  • Explore hundreds of books and reference titles