Remembrance of things past? Change, development, and paternalism
journal contributionposted on 2017-10-23, 06:55 authored by Cox, Julie Wolfram
As part of a retrospective study of effects of organizational change on interpersonal relations, this paper discusses change talk among Australian employees of an American multinational manufacturing enterprise. Interviewees tended to feel pushed into change, discussing its effects in terms of the difficulties of adolescence and earlier experiences of sudden independence. Over time, what had been a simple and firm us and them division in intergroup relations between management and unions/workers had become more fluid and subtle, and perhaps more mature. Interview data are interpreted and then re-interpreted in terms of theories of team development, nostalgia, and paternalism. It is argued that each interpretation makes differing, but complementary, assumptions about the nature of time. If developmental, progressive assumptions of organizational change are relaxed, further attention can be given to theorizing and researching subtleties in talk of the past.