Hattersley Electrics is a division of the Hattersley Group PLC, a United Kingdom based manufacturing conglomerate whose main markets were, until recently, the high tech aerospace and the defense industries. In recent years both the recession in the airline industry and the contraction in defense spending by European governments have hit the division. In order to overcome these Hattersley Electrics has embarked upon the process of repositioning itself within the electronics marketplace niche of advanced civilian communications equipment. As part of this it has changed its manufacturing foci and chosen to downsize and restructure its workforce.
Initially the workforce was not resistant to change due to the extensive efforts made by management to keep them involved and informed at all stages. This involved restructuring the division (Fig. 1) into cells and reducing the workforce from 380 to 250. After this restructuring the works council informed the division’s management team that the workforce were concerned about the longer term effects of these changes. In particular they highlighted possible loss of employment, future job security, a lack of division identity, a lack of direction from senior management and a lack of employee involvement in recent decisions.
Fig. 1 Organizational Structure of Hattersley Group PLC Electrics Division
A consultancy group was hired by the management team and set three objectives to be achieved (at a 95% level of certainty) within a fixed budget and a time scale of 10 weeks from start to finish. These were to establish:
the views of the division’s managers and employees about the effectiveness of change at Hattersley Electrics;
general perceptions of the division’s managers and staff about general aspects of the experience of the changes at Hattersley Electrics;
Whether there were any differences in general perceptions between departments and between managers and employees.
The agreed methodology involved three stages of data collection. In the first stage interviews were undertaken with the division’s chairperson and six managers and a sample of employees. One employee was selected at random from each cell. These interviews were to enable the consultants to understand the background to the changes, and to establish the full variety of opinions regarding its effectiveness. In addition they covered a range of other issues associated with general aspects of the experience of the changes.
In the second stage a questionnaire was distributed, which reflecting the issues generated by interviews in the first stage, to 50% of company managers and employees. This sample was selected from a sampling frame generated from the personnel department’s staff database and was stratified by department and cell. Within each cell employees were listed in order of seniority. All employees other than those in the production department received a questionnaire; 28% of those employees in the production department received a questionnaire. The numbers sampled in each cell is given in Fig. 2. Overall there was a 97.6% response rate to the questionnaire, two non-responses coming from the Computer Systems department and one from the production department.
Fig. 2 Number of managers and employees in each cell who received a questionnaire
After the analysis of the questionnaire, three follow-up group interviews were undertaken, each group consisting of five or six people (stage 3). One group consisted of production employees, another of managers from all departments and a third of employees from all departments other than production. In the interviews issues that had arisen during the analysis of the questionnaire were probed and clarified.
a. Name the sampling techniques used at each of the three stages.
b. List possible reasons for the choice of each of these techniques.
Given the quoted response rate of 97.6% what is the accuracy (margin of error) of the questionnaire results for the division likely to have been?
a. What issues will need to be taken into account when generalizing from the questionnaire results to:
i. all employees in each department of the Electrics division?
ii. all employees in the Electrics division?
b. Give reasons for your answers.
4 Questions (answer this question on the Discussion Board)
a. Would it be possible to use the results from the three sample surveys outlined in this case to generalize about the management of change in the Hattersley PLC group? Give reasons for your answer.