Tackling the challenges for middle managers and employee representatives in organisational restructurings

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GERMANy1

Successful restructurings turn out to be central challenge to the competitiveness of undertakings all over Europe as pointed out in the Commission’s Green Paper on restructuring in 2012 and the associated resolution in 2013.

While change processes imply benefits for more organisational efficiency and success, they can also have negative and unwanted side effects. Empirical data by the German Federal Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (BAuA) recently published in their national stress report( http://www.baua.de/de/Publikationen/Fachbeitraege/Gd68.html) demonstrate that restructuring is a prevalent and frequent phenomenon in both private and public organisations. It often goes along with higher workload, increased demands, and various shapes of uncertainty. This can affect not only the working attitudes and behaviour of employees but also their well-being and health.

In the course of restructurings, middle managers and employee representatives are central groups for implementing and promoting the planned changes. However, often they are neither well informed about the effects change processes have on employees, nor prepared for their specific tasks in these processes.

Based on insights from economics, psychology, sociology, and pedagogic, BAuA has now initiated a project aiming at the development, piloting, and scientific evaluation of supportive training tools for middle managers and employee representatives in organisational restructurings. BAuA collects information on the target groups’ specific challenges and needs by conducting semi-structured interviews with forty middle managers and employee representatives from different economic sectors. Based on this systematic requirement analysis, training tools will be developed, piloted and adapted. After the intervention, its benefit will be evaluated.

ContactSusanne.Gerstenberg@baua.bund.de and Birgit.Köper@baua.bund.de

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